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The Chevalier de Lorraine as “Maître en Titre”

The Male Favourite as Prince, Partner and Patron
Le chevalier de Lorraine comme « Maître en titre » : le favori mâle comme prince, partenaire et patron
Jonathan Spangler

Résumés

Cet article examine une figure majeure de la cour de Louis XIV qui n’a jamais fait l’objet d’une étude académique complète. Il montre comment, à l’époque moderne, un favori royal peut, dans un contexte homosexuel, être analysé comme les maîtresses royales plus connues ou les « maîtresses en titre ». Il présente un portrait détaillé du prince Philippe de Lorraine, plus connu sous le nom de chevalier de Lorraine, dans son contexte familial (un cadet de la maison princière de Lorraine), amical (le ménage de Monsieur, Philippe, duc d’Orléans, frère du roi), et plus généralement dans la culture de cour de la fin du xviie siècle. Une telle analyse révèle plusieurs choses : contrairement ce que disent beaucoup d’études récentes sur les identités et les relations homosexuelles durant l’époque moderne, il existait des relations à long terme, bien qu’elles ne fussent pas orthodoxes. Comme d’autres favoris royaux, le chevalier de Lorraine a maintenu sa position au sommet d’une hiérarchie curiale puissante grâce au soutien de sa famille et d’un important réseau de patronage. On s’intéressera en particulier aux pratiques du clientélisme et à la fonction d’intermédiaire comme principaux moyens d’enrichissement et de survie à la cour de France à cette époque. À la fin de sa vie, le chevalier de Lorraine était devenu l’un des courtisans les plus en vue en raison de sa naissance princière, du soutien constant de sa famille, de sa position de longue durée de « maître en titre » de Monsieur, et de sa gestion efficace d’un vaste réseau de patronage.

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  • 1 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, VIII, p. 344; Dangeau 1854-60, VIII, p. 128; Sourches 1882, VII, p. 79.

1In June 1701, the only brother of Louis XIV of France, Philippe, Duke of Orléans, passed away in his château in Saint-Cloud just outside of Paris. He left behind a widow and a son, but also a significant male favourite, with whom he had shared his life for nearly forty years: Philippe, Chevalier de Lorraine. The new Duke of Orléans offered to continue his late father’s gift to the Chevalier of a pension (about 10,000 écus, or 30,000 livres), and to allow him to keep his apartments at the Palais-Royal. Several contemporaries noted the gesture, and added that the Chevalier retained the rooms, but refused the pension. Dangeau quotes the young Orléans as offering it because, “I inherit the totality of his wealth, thus it will always be him who gives it to you”. With a similar gesture towards fidelity and generosity of spirit, Saint-Simon says the Chevalier’s refusal was made “with grandeur, since by grandeur it had been offered”. Sourches adds that in addition to the apartment, the Chevalier wished only to retain the honour of the young duke’s protection.1 The Chevalier outlived his long-term patron and partner by only a year, dying in his apartments at the Palais-Royal in December 1702.

  • 2 Barker 1989, p. 225.
  • 3 Listing Monsieur’s liaisons with numerous high-ranking members of the court, Didier Godard counts o (...)

2The Chevalier de Lorraine came from a princely family, a distant cousin to the sovereign dukes of Lorraine. But he was the younger son of a younger son and arrived at the French court with little but his birth and his good looks to support him. At the end of his life, the Chevalier de Lorraine could consider himself secure, with a large income and a powerful patronage network. He was abbot of four large abbeys, owned a substantial country house at Frémont, enjoyed pensions from the king and from his brother, and held a dominant position within the household of the Palais-Royal, headquarters of the large and profitable apanage of the Duchy of Orléans. He had survived the turbulent years of the youthful and sexually potent court of Louis XIV in the 1660s to emerge as the undisputed partner of the king’s only brother (known at court as “Monsieur”), despite years of violent conflict with Monsieur’s first wife (known as “Madame”) – some said ending in her death at the favourite’s hands – and continuing with Monsieur’s second wife in the succeeding decades. Monsieur’s most recent English-language biographer describes how Madame and the Chevalier de Lorraine had established a sort of “truce” by the 1690s,2 and we can see from other sources that although Monsieur was by no means completely monogamous in his affections for men at the French court, there is a remarkable constancy in his relationship with the Chevalier from the late 1660s until his death in 1701.3

  • 4 Erlanger 1970, p. 145.
  • 5 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 165.
  • 6 Pevitt 1997, p. 13.
  • 7 Wolf 1968, p. 606: In full, “For all the king’s efforts to provide his brother Philippe with grande (...)
  • 8 Barker 1989, pp. 100–01.

3In historical accounts of the reign of Louis XIV, the Chevalier de Lorraine appears only (if at all) in descriptions of the period during which Monsieur’s first wife, Henriette-Anne of England, attempted to play a role in international politics, as a go-between with her brother King Charles II, her frustrations with the control wielded over her husband by the Chevalier, and her sudden death in 1670, for which the Chevalier was a chief suspect. Terminology used usually refers to the Chevalier as nefarious, greedy and corrupt. Erlanger calls him the “evil spirit” of the Palais-Royal;4 Van der Cruysse refers to him as “Rapacious as a vulture, without scruples, seductive and brutal”;5 Pevitt calls him “utterly corrupt”.6 The magisterial biographer of Louis XIV, John Wolf, does not mention the Chevalier de Lorraine at all, but does depict Monsieur as a weak and flamboyant homosexual caricature, “never more than a grotesque decoration”.7 Barker was one of the first to challenge this notion, and to restore Monsieur as a genuine political player, particularly in consideration of his military career and his acute financial acumen and knowledge of court protocol. Moreover, she describes the Chevalier de Lorraine as intelligent, with “athletic grace and beauty … single-minded determination to make his way … [e]ver conscious of his high birth and haughty in manner”. She also asserts, boldly, that his “true preference” was for women.8

  • 9 Puff 2006, pp. 85–86.
  • 10 Oresko 1989, pp. 105–28.
  • 11 Tulchin 2007.
  • 12 Puff 2012, pp. 20, 26; Bray 2003.
  • 13 Kühner 2011; Legault 2008.

4In a 2006 overview of the history of homosexuality in early modern Europe,9 Helmut Puff suggested that historians need to abandon conceptions of an early modern “gay subculture” defined chiefly by deviance – since that is where the bulk of the evidence survives – and instead look for examples of “ordinary” same-sex relations. The paucity of sources beyond official records of deviant, sometimes criminal, behaviour and potentially biased personal memoirs leaves us with a skewed perception of what was considered “normal” at the time. This is particularly true in areas in which sociological research intersects with recent work on court studies and aristocratic patronage/clientage networks, a suggestion first made by Robert Oresko several decades ago.10 In the past decade, historians of sexuality have wrestled with notions of periodization (was there a strict premodern/modern break, and if so when?) and of identity (was this defined by “acts” or “inclinations”?). A fascinating article by Allan Tulchin has tried to identify whether the medieval practice of affrèrement – almost akin to a same-sex partnership today – in the late Middle Ages might shed clues on same-sex relationships from a legal perspective. Though these had died out by the seventeenth century, Tulchin’s assertion that they were seen as fairly ordinary in tight-knit rural communities allows us to consider how a long-term relationship between two males might have been viewed in a similarly tight-knit premodern society such as the French court.11 In a more recent article, Puff suggests that historians should move beyond dichotomies, and look instead at partial identities, multiple modernities, and in particular, stresses the importance of shifting the focus towards “affective intimacy”, in line with the groundbreaking research of Allan Bray on homosocial friendship.12 Work by historians of friendship and intimacy in seventeenth-century France, such as Christian Kühner and Marianne Legault, has helped us broaden our understanding of interpersonal relationships using both theoretical and practical approaches.13 Intimacy between aristocratic men was “ordinary” in the sense that there were accepted norms and expectations in communication and in displays of affection that did not necessarily pertain to any physical same-sex sexuality.

  • 14 La Fare 1884, pp. 86–87. Most importantly, La Fare concludes that it was this incident that caused (...)
  • 15 Saint-Simon, Addition in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.

5Can it be said, therefore, that the case study under consideration here was in fact an “ordinary” relationship based on same-sex inclination? Can we say with any confidence beyond conjecture that this was more than just patronage/clientage, princely friendship, depraved court antics? Was there love? One contemporary memoirist details how the Chevalier de Lorraine continued to use his sexual prowess to seduce women in order to press them for secrets (much to the annoyance of the first Madame, whose secrets they were).14 And Monsieur had more than one male favourite: his relationship with the Chevalier has appeared at times more as a ménage-à-trois with the Marquis d’Effiat or the Marquis de Beuvron than a one-to-one relationship, yet it was acknowledged by writers such as Saint-Simon that, for better or for worse, the relationship endured: “Le goût de ce prince pour le chevalier de Lorraine … duré depuis leur jeunesse jusqu’à la fin de vie de Monsieur.”15 In the absence of personal correspondence between the two men, however, we cannot know more about their private thoughts and feelings.

  • 16 Letter of 30 June 1701, Orléans 1891, II, p. 4.
  • 17 Oresko 1989 cites Monsieur’s inventaire après décès, but this seems to be missing. Archives Nationa (...)
  • 18 Quoted in Godard 2002, pp. 144–45.

6Most of Monsieur’s personal papers have vanished. We know from a reliable source, his own wife, that she herself burned many of his papers kept in a chest shortly after his death.16 Indeed a search through the private papers of the Royal House of France in the Archives Nationales in Paris (series AP 300) is frustrating in its result.17 There is one relevant letter in Monsieur’s own words, written to the king’s minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, during the crisis of the Chevalier’s exile from court in 1670. His words and phrases can easily be interpreted to indicate more than friendship: the Chevalier de Lorraine is “the best friend [ami] that I could have on earth and, being attached to me, languishes for the love of me [amour de moi] when he is not near me … I knowing better than anyone else the depths of his heart”. He then asks Colbert to intervene with the king to give him the means “to reconcile my fondness [tendresse] with my honour”.18

  • 19 This is the primary subject of this author’s DPhil thesis, and subsequent monograph: Spangler 2009.
  • 20 There are not very many thorough scholarly examinations of royal mistresses specifically, though se (...)

7Even fewer personal papers have survived pertaining to the Chevalier de Lorraine. In this article I will make use of information that has survived, gleaned from manuscripts and printed legal documents for the Chevalier’s family as a whole.19 I will not focus on the evolution of a “homosexual” self-identification, though the existence of a documented same-sex relationship enduring for forty years seems to warrant it. Instead I will treat this relationship as “ordinary” within the spheres of early modern court society, and will analyse the role of status and the functioning of patronage within such a society, in an attempt to reconstruct a patron-client relationship that was based on same-sex affinity, and in particular, the role of the client or favourite in the relationship. In a way such a study offers a parallel to examinations of royal mistresses as favourites and patrons.20

  • 21 Both of these are active topics in 2017, with a conference set for same-sex relationships in royal (...)
  • 22 See for example, a study of Gaston d’Orléans (brother of Louis XIII), by Gatulle 2012. There has be (...)

8What emerges is the viability of a long-term same-sex relationship as a possible means for a junior member of a noble family to sustain himself at court, for the betterment of his own fortunes, as well as those of his family and indeed of his own client networks. This wider impact highlights the important fact that all members of an early modern court society, male or female, homosexual or heterosexual, were members of a dynastic or kin group first, and individuals second. This forms a significant component in our understanding of the functioning of elite society in early modern Europe. It can also help us see how gender lines could be fluid in patron-client relationships, in this instance with the client taking on a role traditionally ascribed to a maîtresse en titre – a male filling a traditionally female role. So although it is difficult to assert that any relationship of the brother of the “Sun King” can be described as “ordinary”, nevertheless, it provides at least one case study, and perhaps opens a door to future research on same-sex relationships in early modern European court culture. It also highlights research being done on other court spaces aside from that of the king: the queen, his brother, his cousins.21 Much of this work reinforces notions that court hierarchies were far more diffused spaces than previously acknowledged, with different focal points of power encircling the chief circle of the monarch, each with their own varieties of the exercise and manipulation of power and power relationships, and varying means by which intimacy can be employed in the managing of these relationships. In particular, the role of the king’s younger brother has come under recent scrutiny – no longer seen as frivolous and irrelevant, but as an important element of the monarch’s management of the wider royal hierarchy.22

  • 23 Briggs 1990.
  • 24 When Monsieur first took up with the Chevalier, his almoner and confidant Daniel de Cosnac was worr (...)
  • 25 Two sons, born between 1668 and 1672, one by Mademoiselle de Fiennes (Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 466); (...)
  • 26 Sévigné 1972, I., p. 466, 30 March 1672. This is not unusual, as royal or princely bastards were us (...)
  • 27 Godard 2002, p. 142.
  • 28 Choisy 1966, p. 219; Erlanger 1953, pp. 38–40, 43-49. The issue is discussed more objectively in Ba (...)

9This article examines the Chevalier de Lorraine’s own position within this royal hierarchy, and efforts he made to feather his own nest, support his own patron-client network, and to participate in the restoration of his lineage to a sense of security and permanence at the pinnacle of the French noble hierarchy that had been in flux since the infamous double murders of the Guise brothers at Blois in 1588, and the persecutions of the grands by Cardinal Richelieu in the 1630s.23 I will also present an overview of the Chevalier’s career (military, ecclesiastical, political, social) in an attempt to capture how he might have viewed himself: as a man whose primary reputation lay in his long-term relationship with another man, but who very clearly cannot be pinned down as purely homosexual or heterosexual. Despite his well-known attachment to Monsieur, his affairs with women were also gossiped about,24 and there is archival and anecdotal evidence for at least two children.25 Madame de Sévigné indicates that these were raised within the nursery of the Chevalier’s older brother.26 This can be contrasted with Monsieur himself, who, despite having two wives and four adult children (seven total), never seemed to display any strong interest towards female partners throughout his life. Didier Godard provides this contrast in his analysis of Monsieur: “the originality relative to Monsieur at the court of France is of his having been truly homosexual, in the sense which one understands the word in our times, that is to say of not having had the preference but for his own sex exclusively, and of not devoting himself to heterosexuality except in the strict extent to which he was obligated”. This, Godard continues, was in contrast to the men who surrounded him like Guiche, or the mignons of Henri III, who were more liberally bisexual.27 Commentators from the contemporary Abbé de Choisy to the modern historian Philippe Erlanger have suggested that Monsieur was purposefully “conditioned” by his mother and by Cardinal Mazarin to be effeminate, to prevent him from assuming any position of rebellion against his older brother, in the vein of previous princes known as “Monsieur”: François, Duke of Alençon (later Anjou), or Gaston, Duke of Orléans.28 If this was indeed the case – and this is not the place to entertain the debate about nature versus nurture – then it seems Louis XIV was pursuing this same line of thought, working to keep his brother both happy and controlled. In this manner the Chevalier de Lorraine performed an important part of Louis XIV’s domestic (and even foreign) policy for nearly forty years of the reign.

Introducing the male favourite

  • 29 For example, Crawford 2003; Potter 1995; Poirier 1996; and Le Roux 2001.
  • 30 The two best sources for modern scholarly analysis of Monsieur remain Barker 1989 and Van der Cruys (...)
  • 31 Godard 2002. Ferguson 2008 bases its short discussion of Monsieur’s same-sex patronage network (pp. (...)
  • 32 Lever 1985. A useful document collection is Merrick and Ragan 2001, but it too focuses mostly on de (...)

10A number of articles have appeared in the past decades concerning sexual identity and its relationship with patronage and status at the French court, with several focused specifically on Henri III and his mignons.29 A century later, another clear example of an enduring homosexual patronage relationship is provided by “Monsieur”, Philippe, Duke of Orléans (1640–1701), and his primary favourite, Philippe of Lorraine (1643–1702), known as the Chevalier de Lorraine. But for various reasons, this relationship has never been systematically examined, except within a wider context of an analysis of Monsieur himself.30 The relationship has been highlighted by historians with a literary or sociological leaning, such as Maurice Lever and Didier Godard, the latter based solely on well-trodden published memoirs and extant historical writings of limited or popular scope.31 Lever’s work should certainly be highlighted in the historiography of homosexuality for its focus on the records of the Bastille and the police of Paris, but this is precisely the “deviance” this article will strive to move beyond.32

  • 33 Cosnac 1852, II, pp. 61–63; I, pp. 360–61.

11The Chevalier de Lorraine presents a useful case study of an enduring royal favourite, one of very high rank, which was a key to his success: previous male favourites had upset traditional power structures by overstepping their rank, rather than by merely being male. As a prince by birth, however, the Chevalier de Lorraine was seen by contemporaries as a more appropriate favourite for a royal prince, than, for example, the mignons of Henri III, who were mostly raised from middling noble rank. For example, the Bishop of Valence and Monsieur’s own almoner, Daniel de Cosnac, relates how Monsieur explained to him how this relationship between princes was better than a previous example set between Gaston de France and the Duke of Montmorency (a mere gentleman). Cosnac joked that it might be better for Monsieur’s finances if the Chevalier was more like Montmorency, with a major government (Languedoc) and an annual income of 400,000 livres. Elsewhere in his memoirs, Cosnac makes this comparison again, and states that he felt (at first) that the Chevalier de Lorraine was a good choice for a favourite, possibly advantageous to Monsieur since he was of “grande naissance … de beaucoup d’esprit et de cœur”, but counselled that it would be better to have no favourite at all, but “plusieurs chevaliers de Lorraine”, all serving his gloire.33

  • 34 Cosnac 1852, I, pp. 358–59: “Dans ce temps, on reconnut un si grand attachement dans l’esprit de Mo (...)
  • 35 See for example, Potter 2007.
  • 36 Erlanger 1970, p. 148.
  • 37 Saint-Simon, Additions inédites, in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.

12Historians have been reluctant to consider the Chevalier de Lorraine’s role in a long-term mutual partnership, as the unofficial (or even official) companion of a major European prince along the lines of a Madame de Maintenon or a Madame de Pompadour. In the title of this article I have called him the “maître en titre”, but contemporaries who wrote about him used terms like “favori declaré”,34 or more pointedly, “archimignon”, which immediately conjured up negative images of the male followers of Henri III. It is important to consider, however, that the reigns of Henri III (1574–89) and of Louis XIV (1643–1715) show marked contrast in stability, both of the country and of the court nobility in particular. The private life of a royal sibling would have been of less pressing concern in an era that saw the government firmly in control of the monarch and less divided by court factions, such as those led by royal mistresses that had divided the Valois court repeatedly in the sixteenth century.35 And were the favourites of Henri III more of a concern to his contemporaries because he was a sovereign, in contrast to Monsieur, who was merely the king’s brother? Until 1661 Monsieur was Louis XIV’s only heir, and remained the heir presumptive until the Dauphin began producing sons in the 1680s. Controlling Monsieur’s behaviour and public reputation was therefore a preoccupation of great importance to Louis XIV, and it was one he entrusted largely, if reluctantly, to the Chevalier de Lorraine. Philippe Erlanger, for example, has concluded that the Chevalier’s recall from exile in 1672 was chiefly done as part of Louis putting his house in order in preparations for going to war against the Dutch, placing Monsieur “firmly in hand”.36 Saint-Simon, writing about the Chevalier after the death of Monsieur in 1701, agreed: “to bend the cadet [Monsieur] to the will of the elder [the king], and to hold him down before him. This was what the king employed him [the Chevalier] for, always with success, by means of distinctions and favours, and overall a lot of money to Monsieur and to the Chevalier.’37 Observers close to the prince drew these conclusions themselves. Monsieur’s almoner Cosnac confided to the first Madame, Henriette-Anne of England, in the early days of the friendship that,

  • 38 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 359.

so long as the Chevalier wished to dream of the gloire of Monsieur, of his interests, and to distance him from trifles [la bagatelle], it would not be perhaps a disadvantageous thing that there would be a man who would have some power over his spirit. Madame demonstrated to me that she believed to have enough control over the spirit of the Chevalier, to oblige him to act in good conduct.38

13Madame would soon find herself seriously mistaken. As the relationship progressed it was the Chevalier de Lorraine who was running the Palais-Royal and Saint-Cloud, Monsieur’s two primary residences. He was thus by implication in charge of one of the largest patronage networks in all of France, the apanage of Orléans.

  • 39 Cosnac 1852, II, pp. 60–63.
  • 40 Dangeau 1854–60 cites visits by royal parties to Frémont, including the king, Monseigneur, or Monsi (...)
  • 41 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 211 (this is the “Vie de Daniel de Cosnac”, attributed either to the Abbé de Ch (...)
  • 42 Madame, cited in Erlanger 1953, p. 188; Duchêne 1995, p. 352. The “Vie de Daniel de Cosnac” says “M (...)
  • 43 Saint-Simon Addition in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.
  • 44 Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 469, letter of 1 April 1672.
  • 45 Orléans 1857, vol. I, letter of 3 July 1717.
  • 46 La Fare 1884, pp. 86–87.

14One of the initial discoveries to be made when investigating the career of the Chevalier de Lorraine is the contrast between early and late accounts. Daniel de Cosnac recounted in the 1660s that the Chevalier supported himself at court with little more than his good looks,39 while the Marquis de Dangeau noted in his journal in the 1690s that the Chevalier had a country house at Frémont large enough to entertain the king and his suite, not once, but frequently, on his journeys between Fontainebleau and Versailles.40 He held no official posts at court, yet the memoirs of the period – by courtiers, politicians and ambassadors – are filled with references to him and his powerful influence. Nearly all of these contain ambivalent descriptions of a man with immense charm and good looks who was nevertheless feared or dreaded: the Abbé de Choisy called him the “Machiavelli of the antechamber”, but also admitted that he was “made as one paints the angels”;41 Monsieur’s first wife described him as an attractive rascal (“drôle bien fait”), but also her worst nightmare, leading her husband into blindness about his own affairs.42 He is described by Saint-Simon, in the midst of describing his terrible faults (notably for abusing Monsieur’s affection for so many years solely for financial gain), as nevertheless “the man of France who has been the best formed, with a very attractive face”.43 More openly gushing, Madame de Sévigné wrote that he had a “beautiful and open physiognomy which I love”.44 The second Madame (Liselotte von der Pfalz) wrote that “he was a handsome man, well made; if the interior had been as good as the exterior, I would, never in my life, have had anything to say against him”.45 Some courtiers genuinely liked him, though the Marquis de la Fare may have been joking when he described him as “the most amiable and the most spiritual young man at court”.46

  • 47 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 165.
  • 48 As allegorical representations go, although Zeus and Poseidon might seem appropriate for Louis XIV (...)

15The Chevalier de Lorraine represented himself appropriately at court masques as Ganymede, the youth so beautiful Zeus was unable to resist him.47 But even if Zeus was not interested, perhaps in this case his brother Poseidon would be.48 The Chevalier was ready and willing to hunt for royal favour and patronage, but he had more going for him than his looks and charm. He had his position at the top of the social hierarchy from birth. Good looks came and went at court, but permanence of position was secured by dynastic prominence and personal favour, both of which centred on rank in the world of Louis XIV.

The rise to prominence

  • 49 Spangler 2009; for an overview of the more famous sixteenth-century Guise, see Carroll 2009.
  • 50 I have uncovered no specific evidence of their childhood acquaintance, but it is a plausible assump (...)

16Prince Philippe of Lorraine was born into one of Europe’s oldest sovereign princely houses, with an unchallenged lineage dating back to the eleventh century. Armed with this semi-royal status, and as an heir to the still very popular heroic reputation of his sixteenth-century Guise predecessors, he would have had immediate access to the highest circles of the French court from his earliest years.49 Indeed Philippe and his elder brother Louis were likely childhood companions of the royal brothers who shared their names: Louis XIV and his brother, Philippe de France (later Duke of Orléans).50 From the 1660s to the 1710s, the two sets of brothers would spend almost forty years together in a rare example of constancy in royal favourites.

  • 51 Poull 1991.
  • 52 Tallement des Réaux 1834–35, III, p. 440.
  • 53 For a recent overview of princely status, see Spangler 2016.

17But Louis and Philippe of Lorraine were of course very different from their royal partners. The Duchy of Lorraine, a semi-independent member state of the Holy Roman Empire, was a far smaller state than the Kingdom of France, with comparatively meagre resources; moreover, it had been occupied by French troops since the 1630s. And although Philippe was fully a member of the ducal house of Lorraine, he was the younger son of a cadet of a junior branch of the junior branch of his family – his father Harcourt was a younger son of the Duke of Elbeuf, who was head of the junior branch of the House of Guise, itself a junior branch of the House of Lorraine.51 Tallemant des Réaux relates in his gossipy Historiettes that Harcourt, a favoured general but nevertheless relatively poor, joked with his patron the Queen-Regent Anne of Austria that unless she gave him a court position, his two sons would have to take the names “La Verdure” and “La Violette” (the grass and the violet).52 But lack of money aside, Harcourt’s sons did have their birth. As unlikely as he was from ever succeeding to a sovereign throne – he would have been ranked sixteenth in line at the time of his birth – Philippe nevertheless retained this crucial potential, which was the defining feature of the rank of prince in Europe, known specifically at the French court as the prince étranger (foreign prince).53 Indeed this potential had in recent memory become reality, demonstrated by the Gonzague-Nevers, who left the French court in 1627 to return to Mantua as sovereign dukes. Yet while his princely birth formed the basis of any claims he had to special favour and proximity to the King of France, his distance from the ducal succession also increased his chances for favour, since he was almost entirely dependent on the French crown for his livelihood, and therefore more trustworthy in the eyes of the young Louis XIV. With the Guise patrimony divided between so many lineages, the Harcourt sons had to rely on external support to maintain the lifestyle required of someone of their rank.

  • 54 Harcourt resigned the office in his son’s favour as early as October 1651, AN, T 15031; O1 9, fol. (...)
  • 55 This was contrary to Louis XIII’s edict (as recent as 1639) forbidding alienation of titles of this (...)
  • 56 This process is meticulously detailed in one of the best sources of documentary evidence for the fa (...)
  • 57 Dangeau and Saint-Simon both paint an endearing image from 1713 of two old men, suffering from gout (...)

18Philippe’s elder brother, Louis, Count of Armagnac (1641–1718), took his place at court as early as 1658, as heir of their father’s offices as Governor of Anjou and Grand Écuyer de France (equivalent to the Master of the Horse in England).54 By virtue of his office as Grand Écuyer, he was traditionally known at court simply as “Monsieur le Grand”, but he more officially bore the title ‘Count of Armagnac’, a title bearing the name of a province, when such a thing was usually reserved for princes.55 Together, the offices of Grand Écuyer and Governor of Anjou provided Armagnac with significant income and potential for patronage. In addition, his marriage in 1660 to the daughter of the Maréchal of Villeroy, with her very large dowry, enabled him to distance himself from his family’s sizeable patrilineal debts, setting up himself (and his brothers) as a fully distinct lineage from their perennially poor and out-of-favour Elbeuf cousins.56 The Villeroy were especially close to the young Louis XIV (Villeroy had been the king’s governor), and the new Countess of Armagnac quickly established herself as a leader in the circle of the new queen, Marie-Thérèse. Over the next decade, the Armagnacs emerged as the uncontested leaders of the entire Lorraine clan at the French court. Monsieur le Grand himself can be described as one of the few men who might be labelled an “intimate” of Louis XIV.57

  • 58 The title “Chevalier de Lorraine” was traditionally used by the senior member of the house who was (...)
  • 59 Saint-Simon denies he was ever a member, Additions, in Dangeau 1854–60, I, p. 336; and Dangeau hims (...)
  • 60 Anselme 1726–33, VIII, p. 500. He is listed as “Melitensis eques” in Gallia Christiana 1715–1865, V (...)
  • 61 BN, Pièces Originales 1753, no. 627, 1 August 1650, quittance for Philippe of Lorraine, for 3,990 l (...)
  • 62 Sire 1994, p. 83.
  • 63 Lagny-le-Sec and Huy (Villers-le-Temple). Anselme 1726–33, VIII, p. 500; Poull 1991, p. 446; Dangea (...)
  • 64 Letter of Msr Bargellini at the Sacred College (Vatican Library, Francia, 141, fol. 61a, 7 Feb 1670 (...)
  • 65 Flavigny 1998, p. 112; Sire 1994, p. 83.
  • 66 Anselme 1726–33 provides several examples in volumes IV–V (ducs-et-pairs): César-Auguste, fourth so (...)

19Philippe of Lorraine was initially not as fortunate. Almost from infancy, he was earmarked to make his career in the Order of Malta, hence his title “chevalier”.58 Memoirists doubted his membership in the order,59 but public documents, official publications, and letters from the crown, did not.60 When Philippe was only seven, his entrance fees were indeed paid,61 but he did not perform the usual required services of a knight of Malta, known as “caravans” (four expeditions of at least six months, required for eligibility for command or administration of the Order’s property62). This can be seen in contrast to the career of his younger brother, Alphonse-Louis, Chevalier d’Harcourt, who, after several years in the Mediterranean, became commander of a galley (notably at the siege of Crete in 1669), and held several lucrative commanderies in France.63 Contemporary evidence corroborates that Philippe indeed did not fulfil his caravans: on the occasion of his banishment from court in 1670, he was initially required by the king to fulfil his obligation to Malta by going on caravan to fight the Barbary pirates, but pleas by Armagnac and Villeroy modified this to simple exile in Rome.64 If Philippe did not actually serve his caravans, alternatively, he could have been inducted into one of the honorary classes (Cross of Devotion or Grand Cross), that were infrequently given to those of high rank who may not have wished to remain celibate in case of future dynastic need.65 This would have been logical for a second son – other noble families occasionally had sons who were withdrawn from Malta to marry and reproduce.66

  • 67 Motley 1990, pp. 123–30.
  • 68 His highest commission was as mestre de camp of a regiment of infantry from October 1651 (when he w (...)
  • 69 Anselme 1726–33, VIII, p. 500; Poull 1991, p. 445.
  • 70 Pinard 1760–66, VI, p. 414. War with Spain ended in May 1668, and it is unclear whether or not the (...)
  • 71 Barker 1989, pp. 149–51.
  • 72 Historians have described this as one of the most petty acts of jealousy of Louis XIV, who, having (...)
  • 73 Dangeau 1854–60, V, pp. 48–50; Saint-Simon 1879–1928, II, p. 159.

20After being set up initially for careers at the Grand Écurie or Malta, Armagnac and the Chevalier de Lorraine, like most young noblemen, were expected to prove themselves in battle. This was the prime arena for the formation of alliances essential for survival at court, not simply as a profession, but as the definition of their condition (état) as members of the warrior class.67 Although neither of the brothers became a great commander like their father, nevertheless it is clear that on the battlefield useful bonds were formed with the king, with the Duke of Orléans and with fellow young aristocrats, which served as advantageous links for the furthering of their careers. Both brothers served in campaigns in Flanders at the end of the war against Spain, and during the first Dutch War. Armagnac never attracted much notoriety, and mostly remained at court to run the Royal Stables.68 Philippe, however, did win personal gloire abroad: in Italy in 1658 at the siege of Turin, in Hungary in 1664 as a volunteer in the armies of the emperor, and again as a volunteer in the Dutch navy in 1666.69 He succeeded his father as colonel of the Régiment d’Harcourt, which he led in campaigns in Flanders in 1667 and 1668, and was promoted to the rank of maréchal de camp in March 1668.70 The high point of his military career was at the siege of Zutphen in 1672, during which Monsieur commanded, while Lorraine repulsed a sortie by the inhabitants.71 He again served under the command of Monsieur at Cassel in 1677, a major victory, with the ironic repercussion of the end of Monsieur’s active military career,72 and with it that of the Chevalier de Lorraine. Although it is not unusual for a man’s military career to dwindle in middle age (he was thirty-four in 1677), it is clear his fortunes were tied to that of his patron and partner. And when Monsieur served as acting defender of the coasts of Normandy under threat from English invasion in July 1694, the Chevalier de Lorraine was “redeployed” by the king in the organisation of a makeshift coastal defence patrol at Dieppe.73

  • 74 Enghien to the Queen of Poland, 12 August 1666: Condé et Enghien 1920, p. 293.
  • 75 Mémoires du comte Betlem-Niklos (Amsterdam, 1736), pp. 289–90, quoted in Petiot 2000, p. 40.
  • 76 In contrast, his kin by marriage, the Marquis de Villeroy tried more than once to serve in a foreig (...)
  • 77 Cosnac 1852, I, pp. 403–05.

21The specific details of the early years of the Chevalier’s military service provide context to the arrangement that followed between the two Philippes. Already a good looking young man of the highest rank, his military reputation solidified his eligibility to act as a valiant noble favourite in the eyes of a royal prince. In the summer of 1666, for example, the Chevalier de Lorraine joined the Dutch military in naval campaigns against the English. One highly placed source at court tells of heroic action in battle in which he saved the Dutch admiral’s ship by cutting the cord of an approaching fireship, rendering it unmanoeuvrable.74 In Hungary he was cited as particularly valorous in mounted single combat on the battlefield against a giant Turk.75 Philippe of Lorraine’s service in Hungary and the Netherlands emphasizes his status as a foreign prince, with relative freedom to offer his services to any monarch or republic he chose.76 At the end of this period, he entered into his close relationship with Monsieur, during their mutual posting to the Flemish front in the spring of 1667.77

Favourite

  • 78 Spanheim 1973, p. 52.
  • 79 See Elliott and Brockliss 1999; Le Roux 2001.
  • 80 Dewald 1993, chapter 4.
  • 81 Barker 1989, p. 2. For Louis XIII and sexuality, see Godard 2002, pp. 109–23, which draws on Cheval (...)
  • 82 Oresko 1989, p. 106.
  • 83 Madame wrote to her aunt Sophie of Hanover: “[Monsieur] never has anything else in the world in his (...)
  • 84 Seifert 2001, p. 37.
  • 85 Merrick 1994.
  • 86 A poem published by Tallemant des Réaux: “De Sault cherche à plaire / Et ne le peut faire / Ragny n (...)
  • 87 Van der Cruysse 1988, pp. 160–62; Primi Visconti 1988, p. 12.

22Baron Spanheim, ambassador from Berlin, noted that the best way to truly know a monarch’s character is to look at the favourites with whom he surrounds himself.78 In the previous century, favourites of French monarchs had exerted varying levels of real governmental power, from the mignons of Henri III to the cardinal-ministers Richelieu and Mazarin.79 Notions of the favourite and sexuality are inevitably linked, but it is difficult to determine the exact nature of relationships between men like Buckingham and James I, or Cinq-Mars and Louis XIII, given the lack of solid evidence. Jonathan Dewald has written about the fine line between male friendship and sexual relations in the early modern aristocratic world.80 Louis XIII, Monsieur’s father, has been described as “repelled by female contact” and strongly attached to men at court if not actually sexually active with them.81 As Robert Oresko points out, royal mistresses often left behind more compelling “evidence” in the form of children, something a male favourite could not do.82 Certainly the idea of an enduring sexual relationship between Monsieur and men must be maintained as probable – we have very direct references in the letters of Monsieur’s second wife83 – but it is wrong to deduce from this any form of self-definition as solely homosexual or heterosexual. Moreover, such evidence that can be gleaned from contemporary memoirs or pamphlets must be taken in context: the charge of sodomy was a most frequent accusation used to tarnish reputations, and generally covered anything disrupting cultural norms, including heresy, tyranny, lust and so on.84 Those in royal favour were frequent victims, like Mazarin,85 or the Chevalier’s brother, Armagnac,86 but could also include the Sun King himself, around whom rumours circulated of his “sexual induction” by one of Mazarin’s nephews as a teenager.87

  • 88 Abbé de Choisy, cited in Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 159.
  • 89 Puff 2006, p. 89, citing Bray 1994; and Bray 2003.
  • 90 Sibalis 2006, p. 104.

23Nevertheless the role of the favourite needed to be more than just sexual. A prince needed someone with whom he could be intimate, with whom he could “let his hair down”. Monsieur himself (as reported by the Abbé de Choisy) regretted that he could not wear women’s clothing more often, “because of his rank; princes are imprisoned in their grandeur”.88 Friendship, as described by Puff, was a chief way of centring intimacy, particularly friendships based on equality of age or rank. Here is where the Chevalier’s status as a prince étranger is most important. As a form of “voluntary kinship”, friendship formed a basic social institution used to complement more traditional social bonds such as kinship or marriage.89 Michael Sibalis adds that at court in particular, networks of friendship and sex helped determine the distribution of patronage, citing descriptions in the journal of Samuel Pepys.90 A favourite could also take the fall for bad decisions made by the prince – here we might consider whether or not the Chevalier de Lorraine’s exile in 1670 was in reality a smokescreen to cover a rift between the king and his brother.

  • 91 Saint-Simon 1878–1928, VIII, pp. 342–44; and in Additions to Dangeau 1854–60, IV, p. 8; VII, p. 127 (...)
  • 92 See footnote 33.
  • 93 Erlanger 1953, p. 68.
  • 94 Condé et Enghien 1920, p. 110, letter of 12 December 1664.
  • 95 Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 469, letter of 1 April 1672. She reports the following dialogue when the Che (...)

24The Chevalier de Lorraine’s supporters may have felt that if Monsieur had to have a male favourite to fulfil these roles, a man with impeccable rank and lineage would be the best man for the job. Those who wrote critically of him, wrote not necessarily of an example of sexual deviance, but an example of a weak royal prince being dominated by one individual. Saint-Simon, in his most bilious remarks against the Chevalier de Lorraine, was more concerned about the Chevalier’s greed and improper influence over a fils de France than his sexuality. In five separate passages he decries the absolute, physically brutal, authority wielded by the Chevalier de Lorraine at the Palais-Royal, and the discord he sowed for his own profit between the king and Monsieur.91 Daniel de Cosnac, as we have seen, preferred someone of the rank of the Chevalier de Lorraine, to an “ordinary” French nobleman, such as the Duke of Montmorency, one of the favourites of Gaston of Orléans.92 This was in many ways the chief scandal of the affair of the Count of Guiche, one of Monsieur’s previous liaisons: that Guiche, of the ancient yet non-princely house of Gramont, treated Monsieur as an equal.93 The predecessors of the Chevalier in the affections of Monsieur – Guiche and Vardes – left behind a trail of scandal, and were ultimately punished (with a fatal posting to the front for Guiche, and a stint in the Bastille for the Marquis de Vardes). But the Chevalier de Lorraine was not without his faults: he was an active participant in the cloak-and-dagger romantic maelstrom of the early years of the personal reign of Louis XIV. A letter from the Duke of Enghien to the Queen of Poland relates an incident at court in which the Marquis de Vardes advised the young Chevalier de Lorraine that he shouldn’t be bothering with his affair with Mademoiselle de Fiennes, one of Madame’s filles d’honneur, when he could set his sights higher, and aim for Madame herself – essentially, “why have the maid when you can have the mistress?” – a remark that won Vardes his place in the Bastille.94 Madame de Sévigné recounts a conversation in which this relationship with Fiennes (who bore one of the Chevalier’s bastards) was terminated with the callous nonchalance of a genuine rake.95 It is from this whirlpool of intrigue and scandal that Louis XIV wished to extract his brother by the end of the 1660s.

  • 96 See for example, Saint-Simon 1879–1928, VIII, p. 371: “le Chevalier envoya à ses deux amis [Effiat (...)
  • 97 La Fayette 1965.
  • 98 Montpensier 1858, IV, pp. 156–158. Monsieur was her chief heir.
  • 99 Letter to the Electress of Hanover, 10 Oct 1693: Orléans 1891, I, p. 186.
  • 100 Letter to the Electress Sophia, 1683: Orléans 1891, I, p. 59.
  • 101 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 322.

25Using memoirs as source materials has its dangers, however, as Sévigné, for example, rarely got her information of the court first hand, and Saint-Simon was not even born until 1675, long after the tumultuous period of the Chevalier de Lorraine’s early relationship with Monsieur. Nevertheless Saint-Simon is confident in his condemnation of the Chevalier for his role in the death of the first Madame in 1670.96 Contemporary sources belie this idea. Someone who was present, Madame de La Fayette, one of the closest intimates of Henriette-Anne, would have been ideally placed to write the most authoritative condemnation of the Chevalier, but her detailed descriptions of the princess’s death do not suggest any murderous intentions, or in fact mention him at all.97 Even more than personality, fears about the conduct of the Chevalier de Lorraine stemmed mainly from those who feared for their own possessions. La Grande Mademoiselle described him as a clever courtier who was able to take advantage of her weak-willed, effeminate cousin. Her fears stemmed not from his personality, but from the designs he and Monsieur’s other favourites had on her fortune.98 In a similar way, the second Madame, Liselotte von der Pfalz, was much more concerned that Monsieur was rewarding his favourites with her property, than with any sexual impropriety: “I do my best to persuade Monsieur that I do not wish to trouble him in his divertissements and his Männerlieb.”99 Later in life her chief complaint against the Chevalier de Lorraine was not that he was sleeping with her husband, but the amount of treasure he was given by Monsieur (frequently taken from her own jewels), or indeed by the king himself.100 Indeed Van der Cruysse attributes the purchase and decoration of the Chevalier’s country estate at Frémont mostly to the so-called Orléansgeld, money extorted from the Palatinate by the King of France in Liselotte’s name, much to her horror.101

  • 102 “Etat du Palais-Royal, en 1701, à la mort de Monsieur, frère de Louis XIV”, Appendix D in Vatout 18 (...)
  • 103 Montpensier 1858, IV, p. 66.
  • 104 Newton 2000, p. 225.
  • 105 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, p. 60; VIII, pp. 342–44; X, pp. 377–80; Sourches 1882, I, p. 11; Spanheim (...)
  • 106 Montpensier 1858, IV, pp. 494–96.
  • 107 Barker 1989 utilizes what little financial paperwork remains (mostly AN, 300 AP I, carton 115), cha (...)
  • 108 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, p. 62; XXII, pp. 162, 249; Sourches 1882, I, pp. 132, 154.
  • 109 Dangeau 1854–60, III, p. 406.
  • 110 État de la France (1669), I, pp. 355–71, “Maison de Monsieur”.
  • 111 Barker 1989, p. 82.

26Monsieur’s gifts to the Chevalier included apartments at his Parisian residence, the Palais-Royal,102 at his primary country residence at Saint-Cloud,103 and within the Château of Versailles itself, in a wing otherwise reserved for princes of the blood and senior courtiers.104 Various memoirists describe how the Chevalier de Lorraine established a firm control over the running of the household of Monsieur.105 La Grande Mademoiselle indicates that by the early 1670s he presided at weekly meetings of Monsieur’s finance council.106 And although there is little evidence of the actual administration of Monsieur’s household,107 contemporaries provide some accounts of the manner in which the Chevalier ran affairs, using his influence to obtain positions for friends, like his sometime mistress, Madame de Grancey (Louise-Elisabeth Rouxel, dame d’atour of Monsieur’s daughter the Queen of Spain, then of Madame herself), or to remove rivals, including Madame’s confidante Mademoiselle de Théobon.108 Opportunities were there for financial gain: in September 1691 Monsieur provided a vacant position as premier conseiller of his household for the Chevalier to sell, with a commission of 2,000 pistoles.109 As the “favori en titre” his patronage possibilities were immense. By 1669 Monsieur’s household staff numbered over a thousand,110 and his total staff would have been much larger, including all the fermiers, curés, and judicial officers of his apanage of Orléans, Valois, Chartres, Nemours, and subsidiary properties. Besides the hundreds of officers and domestic staff at the Palais-Royal or at Saint-Cloud, Monsieur was also patron of numerous architects, gardeners, painters and musicians, including the most famous names in France: Le Pautre, Le Nôtre, Molière, Coypel, and Mignard.111

  • 112 Oresko 1989, p. 115.
  • 113 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 61.
  • 114 Rather than a severe punishment, the Chevalier de Lorraine apparently had a grand time in Rome, con (...)
  • 115 Poull 1990, p. 895; Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 165.
  • 116 Letter of March 1670 to Madame de Saint-Chaumont, quoted in Bevan 1979, p. 157.
  • 117 Ormesson 1860-61, II, p. 581; Saint-Maurice 1910, I, p. 383; Montpensier 1858, IV, p. 87.

27As a prince, the Chevalier de Lorraine was unable to hold an official charge in the household of another prince; he was more suitable to be a “companion” to Monsieur.112 But this position was informal, and thus impermanent. Cosnac states that the Chevalier’s personal income before he became Monsieur’s favourite was only 1,000 écus.113 It was therefore imperative to press his patron for something that would outlast potential loss of favour. Monsieur’s first attempts to secure a permanent income for his favourite provoked the king’s anger, and the Chevalier de Lorraine spent two years in exile in Rome.114 Some historians hold to older ideas that it was solely through the efforts of Madame that the Chevalier was exiled,115 but her relationship with the Chevalier was more complex. She knew that his disappearance would not bring her relief: “I see from the ashes of Monsieur’s love for the Chevalier, as from the dragon’s teeth, a whole brood of fresh favourites are likely to spring up to vex me.”116 Contemporary observers understood that the real reasons for his exile stemmed not from Madame’s desires to be rid of him, but as a result of Monsieur’s overreaching demands for ecclesiastic benefices for his favourite, demands that did not sit well with Louis XIV’s religious scruples, even early in the reign.117 This was a struggle ultimately won by Monsieur, and only a year after his return, the very same benefices were indeed granted to the Chevalier de Lorraine, each of them among the most lucrative in all of France.

  • 118 Gallia Christiana 1715–1865, VIII, pp. 1213, 1257, 1538; IX, p. 456. The last two were previously h (...)
  • 119 AN, O1, no. 22, fols 100–02, provisions for Saint-Jean des Vignes.
  • 120 His title as abbot in commendam referred to the “temporary curatorship” of his abbeys, awarded to s (...)
  • 121 Gallia Christiana 1715–1865, VIII, pp. 1257, 1567; IX, p. 461.
  • 122 Cabanes and Lagrange 1982; Chenesseau 1931, p. 119.

28The Chevalier de Lorraine ultimately secured his appointment to four abbeys within the apanage of Monsieur: La Trinité de Tiron, near Vendôme, in 1674; Saint-Jean des Vignes in Soissons in 1678; Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire in 1679; and Saint-Père de Chartres in 1680.118 The provisions given by the king specifically acknowledged the nomination made by Monsieur, in virtue of his apanage.119 He held them as abbé commendataire, as a knight of Malta rather than a priest.120 The relative value and prestige attached to these four abbeys can be put into scale by examining their previous holders: cardinals (including Richelieu and the Cardinal de Lorraine), princes légitimés, royal favourites, and even the ex-king of Poland, John II Casimir Vasa.121 Most of these abbeys were not singular institutions, but heads of much larger monastic networks. For example La Trinité de Tiron at its height was the head of fourteen abbeys and eighty-six priories. Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (or Fleury) was one of the largest and richest abbeys in France, with dependant priories stretching from the Ardennes to Gascony.122

  • 123 La Trinité de Tiron (10,000 livres), Saint-Jean-des-Vignes de Soissons (25,000 livres), Saint-Benoî (...)
  • 124 Bergin 1996, p. 528, gives 10,000 livres for Saint-Père in 1655; Aristide 1992, p. 138, gives about (...)
  • 125 Bergin 1996, p. 102.
  • 126 AN, O1, no. 22, fols 100–02.
  • 127 Chenesseau 1931, pp. 119–21.
  • 128 In 1684 the monks of Saint-Benoît purchased expensive tapestries to hang in their stalls to keep th (...)
  • 129 From 1674 he was the primary heir of his mother’s succession (AN, 15591, cote XXVI, no. 8). He and (...)
  • 130 Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 98.

29Annual revenues for the four abbeys are not known precisely, but are given as estimates by Arthur Boislisle to total around 70,000 livres.123 Other sources corroborate two of these estimates.124 Most benefices had various forms of “le temporel” attached: rights of seigneurial jurisdiction over lands, farms, mills and forests from which revenue was generated. It is also possible that the abbot received some form of income from “le spirituel” – fees for services performed by the curés within his jurisdiction – but this practice had been curtailed a good deal since the 1640s.125 Some abbeys also had pre-existing or new pensions attached to them, reducing the abbot’s income: the Chevalier’s letters of provision for Saint-Jean des Vignes reserved pensions for two clercs of the diocese of Paris (3,000 livres for Louis-Joseph de Chanlery, and 1,000 livres for Louis [or René] Vaucher).126 But figures are undoubtedly incomplete: the revenues of Saint-Benoît are listed at 25,000 livres, and the portion for the abbé commendataire at 20,000, leaving only 5,000 for the monks.127 And yet the monks at these abbeys were known to be very well off,128 so there must have been greater sums generated by other sources. As for the Chevalier’s other sources of income, there are some of his patrimonial estates that he shared with his brothers (notably in Burgundy),129 and he was the recipient of some royal grants, such as the office of lieutenant of the royal forest of Sénart, south-east of Paris.130

  • 131 Dangeau 1854-60, I, p. 84; IX, p. 59; Primi Visconti 1988, p. 77.
  • 132 Sévigné 1972-78, II, pp. 45–46, 51, 58, 76, 82, letters of August 1675.
  • 133 Erlanger 1953, 121.
  • 134 On the occasion of his nomination as governor of her son. Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 180.
  • 135 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXII, pp. 392–93.
  • 136 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, p. 60, VIII, p. 371.
  • 137 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXVI, p. 371-2.
  • 138 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 115, letter of 26 August 1689.

30What about the Chevalier’s rivals? Some accounts imply that he was merely the strongest of many influences at Monsieur’s court at Saint-Cloud or the Palais-Royal.131 Madame de Sévigné described how the Chevalier de Lorraine had to continue to struggle to maintain his position: in a dispute with Monsieur over the household position of a rival, the Chevalier retreated to the country; but his protests were unsuccessful, he was forced to apologise, and the rival kept his place.132 And what about sex? If this was not a monogamous relationship between the two men, how else can it be defined? The Marquis d’Effiat has sometimes been described as living in a ménage-à-trois with Monsieur and the Chevalier de Lorraine.133 Effiat (Antoine Coeffier de Ruzé, 1638–1719), grand bailiff, governor and master of the hunt of Montargis (one of Monsieur’s chief country seats), and later premier écuyer and premier veneur of Monsieur’s household, has been lambasted by Madame as “the greatest sodomite in France”.134 Saint-Simon called him “l’âme damnée” [literally “damned soul”, but colloquially, “henchman”] of Monsieur,135 and was certain he had played a part in the death of the first Madame.136 He goes on to describe the great success of Effiat in tandem with that of the Chevalier de Lorraine, not only because of their relationship with Monsieur, but also due to their dealings with the king and Madame de Maintenon, in particular regarding the events leading up to the marriage of Monsieur’s son to the king’s bastard daughter in 1692. Effiat was, in Saint-Simon’s words, “in full partnership with the Chevalier de Lorraine, [and] governed Monsieur until his death, very often with insolence”.137 In her letters, Madame frequently rails against the “cabale de Lorraine”, ranged against her in Monsieur’s household: she blamed the triumvirate of Lorraine, Effiat and Madame de Grancey for the removal of one of her few confidantes at the French court, Mademoiselle de Théobon. She was convinced that Effiat was among those responsible for the death of the first Madame, remarking sarcastically that, true or not, “poisoner” was a “fine title of honour for someone to whom I entrust my son”, when he was proposed as her son’s governor.138 Again it seems that Madame did not dislike one of her husband’s favourites for his sodomy, but for standing between herself and Monsieur, and for “poisoning his soul” towards her.

  • 139 Letter of 13 August 1716, Orléans 1909, p. 289.
  • 140 Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 439, letter of 12 February 1672.
  • 141 Primi Visconti 1988, p. 78.

31Madame’s strongest condemnatory words seem to have been towards a man foisted on her as her own premier maître d’hôtel. Antoine Morel de Volonne was in charge of her household from 1673 to 1683, and was an active part of the male patronage network of her husband and the Chevalier. She described in a letter how the Chevalier de Lorraine delegated some of his “recruitment details” to Morel, who with the spirit of the devil, “soulless and lawless”, sold boys like horses, going to the pit at the opera to conduct his deals.139 Monsieur’s third great favourite from the early 1670s was the Count of Beuvron (Charles d’Harcourt, d. 1688), captain of his guard, from a prominent aristocratic family from Normandy. Madame de Sévigné thought he had plans of his own to become the “favori en titre”, to take over when the Chevalier de Lorraine was in exile in 1672.140 Other favourites had similar ideas, for example, Alexis-Henri, Marquis de Châtillon (1653–1737), Monsieur’s premier gentilhomme de la chambre. Like Lorraine and Beuvron, Châtillon came from a family of exalted rank, but from a poor junior branch. Primi Visconti relates a good example, if genuine, of how gender and sexuality could have figured in the decisions made regarding court placement and offices. Châtillon’s elder brother was a member of the royal bodyguard, and used his proximity to plead before the king how unfair he thought it was that his career (as the elder son) had not been advanced in the service of the king, while that of his younger brother had in the service of Monsieur. The king replied, “One makes his fortune in my brother’s service by certain means which would make one lose favour if employed in mine”.141

  • 142 Kaiser 1996.
  • 143 Primi Visconti 1988, p. 78.
  • 144 Sévigné 1972–78, II, pp. 82, 26–28 August 1675, discussing the new favourite, Jacques Roque de Vare (...)
  • 145 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXII, p. 249.

32Within this mix of competing ambitions, Primi Visconti then relates how the Chevalier de Lorraine kept himself in favour, as the protector of “la belle jeunesse”, in other words by ensuring a steady supply of youths to Monsieur’s court, much in the same manner as would do another royal favourite, Madame de Pompadour, once she realized that her looks alone would not keep her in a position of prominence in the intimate life of Louis XV.142 Lorraine himself, although by now in his thirties, “did not put himself outside the ranks, which, in doing this, made him the singular favourite” – he kept himself in the running, while controlling any “extra-marital” activity, and thus maintained his control. Primi Visconti’s anecdote includes the farcical scene at Monsieur’s lever in which “one spoke of young men as a company of amorous boys has custom of speaking of young ladies”, but he also describes the potential dangers of a perceived homosexual cabal: after hearing that Monsieur and his suite praised the grace of various cadets in the king’s gardes du corps, the cadets of the guards were immediately disbanded.143 Sévigné too describes scenes at the Palais-Royal as if they were farce, with an “air burlesque”: Monsieur finds a new favourite, the Chevalier leaves court to sulk, supported by the resignations of Effiat and Morel, then the two of them reconcile in tears in the presence of the king.144 Ultimately, the triumvirate of the Chevalier, Effiat and Beuvron remained on top: Saint-Simon describes how the Bishop of Le Mans, Louis de la Vergne de Tressan, held the position of privilege as Monsieur’s premier aumônier, until he tried too hard to compete with this trio, and they forced him to retreat to his diocese.145

  • 146 Sourches 1882, I, p. 118.
  • 147 Dangeau 1854–60, II, p. 379.
  • 148 Mémoires du curé de Versailles, François Hébert, 1686-1704, in Merrick and Raglan 2001, pp. 124–25.
  • 149 Saint-Simon 1879-1928, VIII, p. 342.
  • 150 There are several references to this role which the Chevalier de Lorraine played for the King: Dang (...)

33Unexpectedly, it would seem that Louis XIV himself was one of the chief agents in maintaining the Chevalier’s position of authority over his brother. The king’s feelings towards the Chevalier were complex. Sourches mentions that the king tolerated the Chevalier’s presence purely from his affection for his brother, Armagnac, and out of concern for Monsieur’s happiness.146 Yet Dangeau refers to an incident in 1689 in which the Chevalier de Lorraine went into the king’s chambers alone, after the coucher, and spoke with the king for some time in his bed, an action generally restricted to only the immediate royal family, not a favour given to someone merely tolerated.147 Nevertheless homosexuality was an issue that vexed and confused Louis XIV. According to the memoirs of the curé of Versailles, François Hébert, when he asked Madame de Maintenon what she thought the king should do about “those detestable vices” at the court, she responded that she had urged the king to set things right and punish this criminal behaviour, but that the king had answered, “So I must begin with my brother?”148 Saint-Simon felt that the king held little personal affection for the Chevalier, but the memoirist was in awe that he enjoyed “consideration, distinction, and trust nearly as notable from the king as from Monsieur”.149 Though we certainly do not have to go as far as historians of previous generations in condemning Monsieur out of hand as effeminate and weak, easy (or even craving) to be dominated, the evidence does seem clear that Louis XIV recognized the benefits of supporting a clever and secure favourite for his brother, someone from the most respected rank in society, someone he had known all his life, through whom he could watch over and control both him and his household.150

  • 151 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 64. The Chevalier de Lorraine said he would renounce any grâces he might get fr (...)
  • 152 Saint-Simon, Addition in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.
  • 153 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXII, pp. 162–63.
  • 154 Un Recueil Inédit de Portraits et Caractères, 1703, from the British Library, Ms. Add. 29507, A. de (...)

34One of the questions remaining is the degree to which the Chevalier de Lorraine’s status as a “favori en titre” was a private or a public affair. Cosnac tells of his demands to be openly acknowledged late in the 1660s.151 Saint-Simon states clearly that everyone knew of the affair: “the preference [goût] of this prince for the Chevalier de Lorraine had been so public, so persistently manifest that nothing was so public in all of Europe.”152 Saint-Simon also informs us that at one point there was a feeble attempt to pass off Madame de Grancey (actually one of the Chevalier de Lorraine’s mistresses), as Monsieur’s mistress in the eyes of the public: “she had for a long time governed the Palais-Royal under the sterile persona of mistress of Monsieur, who had other tastes that he believed for a time to mask by this.”153 Besides the great number of private letters sent by Madame to her relatives at the courts of Hanover, Brandenburg and Great Britain, there is another source of inter-court gossip that was written for the edification of Queen Anne of Great Britain at the beginning of her reign, painting Monsieur fairly clearly as homosexual: “He does not lack bravery as was evident at Mont Cassel … his affections do not go to women whose gallantry seems common to him, nonetheless he affects their manners … his make-up resembles the ladies more than a general of armies.”154

  • 155 Dangeau 1854–60, II, p. 220.
  • 156 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, pp. 60–61; Dangeau 1854–60, II, pp. 220, 240–42, 285; Sourches 1882, III, (...)
  • 157 Anselme 1726–33, IX, p. 214; Colleville and Saint-Christo 1924.
  • 158 The new regulations of the Order in 1665 required knights to be 35; by the eighteenth century it wa (...)
  • 159 AN, T*1993, revenues of the Duke of Elbeuf for 1654, confirms the value of 3,000 livres for this, w (...)
  • 160 He even changed his name, and was known at court after 1688 as “le Prince Philippe de Lorraine”, An (...)

35But these are mostly private comments. Within the “public” that made up the court, one of the most public forms of recognition of royal favour was the award of the “Cordon Bleu”, the sash worn by members of the Order of the Saint-Esprit. This was awarded in 1688 to the Chevalier (and to his brothers, the counts of Armagnac and Marsan, and to his nephew, the Count of Brionne). Although this was an award given by the king, it was public knowledge that a number of the awards for that year were earmarked for Monsieur’s favourites. Dangeau states it the clearest, writing that Monsieur would be allowed to name two, Madame one, Chartres one and Condé also one; though in following this with the names selected specifically by Monsieur (Effiat and Châtillon), he does not include the Chevalier de Lorraine.155 The Lorraine brothers were thus chosen by the king himself. The published promotional list was noted by nearly every contemporary writer on the court, and served as a regulation of precedence at all court functions in the succeeding years.156 Most of those heading the list were marshals of France or ducs-et-pairs.157 Armagnac and the Chevalier de Lorraine were neither, yet they preceded everyone on the list save the princes of the church, the princes du sang and the légitimés de France. The promotion to the Order of the Chevalier’s nephew Brionne, who was by statute too young to qualify, augmented even further the favour being demonstrated by the king,158 as did inclusion of his youngest brother, Marsan. In addition to the prestige, membership in the Order also brought a pension of 3,000 livres from the crown, thus the four Lorraines added 12,000 livres to their combined annual income, equivalent to the revenues of a county or several seigneuries.159 It was a victory not just for the Lorraines, but for Monsieur’s favourites, several of whom also leaped over other men of higher rank in receiving the award, notably Effiat and Châtillon. The Saint-Esprit promotion of 1688 had clearly established the Chevalier de Lorraine as a prince, with rank above the gentlemen-peers of France.160 There would not be another promotion to the Order on this scale until 1724, during the reign of Louis XV.

36If the relationship was therefore common knowledge in courtly and diplomatic circles, where its sexual nature per se did not seem to matter, what about the broader “public”? Madame herself relates a song sung in Paris about her late husband in a letter to her Aunt Sophie, which – although it does not mention the Chevalier or any of the other favourites by name – leaves no doubt that the Parisian public were well aware of Monsieur’s tastes. After a verse lampooning the king’s secret marriage to Madame de Maintenon, it continues:

Philippe n’est pas de ce goût:

C’est malgré lui qu’il est époux.

S’il tâte jamais du veuvage,

Pour pleinement vivre à son gré,

Nous le verrons avec un page

  • 161 Quoted in Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 420: Philippe is not of this preference: / It is despite himself (...)

Bientôt à Saint-Cloud retiré.161

  • 162 La Fare 1884, p. 281.

37The Marquis de la Fare describes how in 1693, Monsieur took a journey to Brittany, and decided to distribute money along the route to help alleviate famine. He very publicly had in his carriage the Chevalier de Lorraine, Effiat and La Fare himself, each with a sack of coins: “This solidly bought the heart of the people for this prince.”162

  • 163 Quoted in Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 213.
  • 164 Notably the Chevalier’s cousin, Marie de Lorraine, Mademoiselle de Guise. See Ranum 2004.
  • 165 David et Jonathas, Tragédie en musique (Paris, 1688), printed libretto (by François de Paule Breton (...)
  • 166 Ranum 2004, pp. 318–27; Fader 2013.

38It remains however, to search further for other indications of public opinion towards the relationship of Monsieur and the Chevalier de Lorraine. In the arts was there any element of playing off popular classical themes, the ancient Greek heroes with known male favourites like Alexander or Achilles? Monsieur had been compared to Achilles in a song written for him after his victory at Cassel in 1677 (“on the field of Mars, Philippe is an Achilles”).163 And biblical references? The year of the promotion to the Order of the Saint-Esprit, 1688, was also the year of the premiere of the opera David et Jonathas by a composer, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, whose very career had been built and nurtured by the family of the Chevalier de Lorraine.164 Is it too much of a stretch to conceive that the openly romantic arias between the two male protagonists were in any way meant to represent a same-sex love affair at the Palais-Royal? In Act 4, Scene 2, they sing together: “Parmi de mortelles horreurs, / Malgré d’inutiles fureurs, J’irai, j’irai chercher & sauver ce que j’aime.” Then in Scene 3, Jonathan declares: “Ne pourrai-je accorder le devoir & l’Amour?” (capitalized in the published seventeenth-century edition). And in Act 5, Scene 4 (dying in David’s arms): “Malgré la rigueur de mon sort, / Du moins je puis vous dire encor que je vous aime.” David responds by naming Jonathan as, “L’objet le plus doux de mes voeux.”165 Monsieur was a very public supporter of Charpentier’s music, often in the face of his rivals (and indeed, the king’s favourite, Lully). This was made evident through the composer’s collaborations with Molière and the Comédie Française at the Palais-Royal; his appointment as music tutor to Monsieur’s son in 1691; Monsieur’s attendance at four of the eight performances of Médée in 1693 (possibly to quash a plot being mounted against the opera); and particularly in the pressure applied on his behalf to obtain the post of master of music at the Sainte-Chapelle in 1698.166 The household shared by Monsieur and the Chevalier de Lorraine was thus connected to cultural and political patronage at the highest levels.

Patronage and brokerage

  • 167 Kettering 1986, pp. 4–5, 175–76.

39At the height of his public prestige, marked by the promotion of the Order of the Saint-Esprit in 1688, the Chevalier de Lorraine was now in the strongest position to tend to his patronage network. His activities in this period demonstrate two types of patronage in operation: direct patronage and indirect brokerage. The first, as described by Sharon Kettering, is the straightforward delivery of services, commissions, and sales of offices in exchange for cash or cancellation of debts. The second involves a patron acting as middleman, using influence with a grander patron to obtain privileges, offices or pensions for clients, which in return strengthened the prestige of the broker.167

  • 168 The king saw his brother alone each day in his study between Council and the Petit Couvert. Oresko (...)
  • 169 BN, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises 2455, fol. 11, Factum pertaining to the rights of the abbot o (...)
  • 170 For example, a large abbot’s palace at Saint-Benoît, grandly rebuilt by the Chevalier in the 1680s. (...)
  • 171 Saint-Simon 18791928, XV, p. 16.
  • 172 Dangeau 185460, V, p. 192.
  • 173 Dangeau 1854–60, VI, p. 433. Camille had been tonsured, but never became a full ecclesiastic.

40As principal favourite of Monsieur, and head of his household, the Chevalier de Lorraine had access to (or even control of) Monsieur’s personal patronage network, at court, in Paris and across the apanage of Orléans. This was heightened further by Monsieur’s influence with the king himself on a day-to-day basis.168 On his own, the Chevalier de Lorraine acted as a patron through his rights to appoint or sell ecclesiastic positions attached to his benefices.169 Hundreds were involved in the administration of the Chevalier’s four abbeys, including dependent abbots, priors and numerous curates, and lay staff to manage the temporal holdings, maintain abbatial residences,170 and to administer seigniorial justice. There are few surviving details of sales or grants of these positions, though Saint-Simon mentions one out of personal interest, as it involved the appointment of a curé dependant on Saint-Père de Chartres that was located near his own estates at La Ferté-Vidame.171 The Chevalier de Lorraine also distributed benefices to family members to supplement their incomes. In 1695 he gave a priory dependent on Tiron, worth 3,000 livres a year, to his brother Marsan, despite the king’s discomfort in giving a benefice to a married man.172 In 1698 he gave a priory dependent on Saint-Benoît, worth 6,000 livres, to his nephew, Prince Camille.173

  • 174 The best source on the role of the provincial governor as broker at court remains Harding 1978.
  • 175 BN, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises, no. 2455, fol. 11.
  • 176 BN, Thoisy 217, fol. 448.
  • 177 BN, Factum 10080.

41The Chevalier acted also as a broker, between his clients and the court, much as his brother Armagnac did as governor of Anjou.174 As abbé commendataire, he was not directly involved in the internal affairs of his abbeys – elected priors were the real authorities at his abbeys – but he did play an important role via his position at court. It was beneficial for a rich abbey to have a wealthy and influential abbot like the Chevalier de Lorraine, who could act on its behalf before the king, Monsieur (the apanagiste), or the higher law courts, aided by his family’s connections with several leading parlementaire families. The Chevalier served as the legal representative of his abbeys, lending his position of favour and the status of the House of Lorraine to “his” monks in their lawsuits against such formidable opponents as the University of Paris and the Prince of Condé. In the early 1680s Philippe intervened in a case pending at the Conseil du Roi, in which a doctor in theology, with the backing of the University of Paris, claimed the right to a vacant curacy dependant on the Abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes.175 In 1690, as Abbot of Tiron, he pursued the Prince of Condé, guardian of the Duke of Longueville, for arrears of a rente of 30 septiers of wheat due to the abbey from Longueville’s county of Dunois.176 Other cases involved struggles over jurisdictional rights, for example over Saint-Père’s claims on the river Eure, south of Chartres.177

  • 178 See Thomas 2004.
  • 179 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, pp. 62–66.
  • 180 Madame to the Electress Sophia, 14 April 1688, quoted in Pevitt 1997, p. 33.

42The second, more subtle form of brokerage involved clients seeking royal intimates to intercede with the king on their behalf, in order to obtain favours or protection. One example is described in detail by Saint-Simon, who claimed that the Chevalier de Lorraine was instrumental in obtaining the post of preceptor of Monsieur’s son, the Duke of Chartres, for the Abbé Dubois. This was to be a significant appointment, as Dubois remained close to Chartres for the rest of his life, and under this prince’s regency (1715–23) became successively foreign minister, Archbishop of Cambrai, cardinal, and premier minister of France.178 But brokerage requires a return favour, and the account continues by stating that the year after the appointment, the Chevalier de Lorraine pressured Dubois to use his influence over young Chartres to convince him to accept a proposed marriage to the king’s illegitimate daughter, as part of his deal with the king for his promotion into the Order of the Saint-Esprit.179 This idea is supported by a letter from Madame: “I have been told in confidence the real reasons why the king is treating the Chevalier de Lorraine and the Marquis d’Effiat so well: it is because they have promised to persuade Monsieur to beg the king most humbly to marry the Montespan’s children with mine.”180

  • 181 Sourches 1882, I, p. 110.
  • 182 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, II, pp. 203–04. This episode forms part of Louis’s ongoing policy of keeping (...)
  • 183 Le Roy Ladurie 2001, p. 107 (citing Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XIV, p. 541).

43A broker also sometimes had to protect his clients against the patron’s wrath. In this role, we can see the Chevalier perform a near miracle in the affair of the “anti-female debauchery club” at Versailles, in which his youngest brother, Marsan, and Armagnac’s son, Brionne, were closely involved. The trouble came in 1682, when the group was caught “inducting” the Count of Vermandois, the king’s illegitimate son. The seriousness of this affair cannot be overestimated, as it pertained to the king’s family and his honour itself. As a result, some of the leading families in France – Gramont, La Tour d’Auvergne, Créqui – were ordered to send their sons away from court. Even a prince du sang, the Prince of la Roche-sur-Yon, was sent home to Chantilly. Nevertheless, through the influence of Armagnac with the king, and the Chevalier with Monsieur, neither Marsan nor Brionne suffered for their involvement.181 This affair has sometimes been described as one of the chief examples of rampant homosexuality at the court of Versailles, and is therefore relevant in the discussion of a same-sex relationship that flourished there, but also solidifies our view of the nearly impervious position maintained at court by the Chevalier de Lorraine and his brothers. Of course patronage systems were not without their failures, and examples can be found such as the failure of the Chevalier de Lorraine to help the Cardinal de Bouillon (of the house of La Tour d’Auvergne) obtain the title and property of “dauphin d’Auvergne” from Monsieur in 1694. Although the Chevalier did secure Monsieur’s initial agreement, the sale was blocked by the king, who did not want the cardinal to use this title, which carried princely rank. Lorraine was summoned to convey this message to Bouillon, who left the court in shame.182 This too can potentially be looked at through the prism of same-sex patronage relationships, as the cardinal is described by some as one of the court’s “known” homosexuals – Le Roy Ladurie relates that he was known by the sobriquet il cardinale coglione, or “Cardinal Balls”.183 But any detailed knowledge of a working relationship between the Chevalier and the cardinal is not known.

  • 184 Mettam 1988, p. 44.
  • 185 Armagnac was a member of family councils involving the Créqui properties in the 1690s (Dangeau 1854 (...)
  • 186 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, X, pp. 84, 90, 378–79.
  • 187 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XIV, p. 311.
  • 188 Rowlands 2002, p. 45.

44The role of the prince étranger favourite as a power broker was an important part of the functioning of court society. Only those with the closest access to the sovereign were best suited to obtain benefits for their clients. The bulk of the French nobility certainly did not live at Versailles, but remained in their localities, depending on the intercession of the grands for their favours, appointments, pensions and benefices.184 The alliances formed by the grands at the top of these patronage pyramids were usually enduring. Armagnac’s position in the Villeroy family network, for example, continued for the whole of the personal reign of Louis XIV, and was closely connected to Villeroy’s powerful cousins Louvois (minister of war) and Créqui (marshal of France, military governor of Lorraine).185 It was Villeroy capital that enabled Armagnac to establish his finances on a separate footing from troubling patrimonial debts; in return, Armagnac and his brother routinely backed up the Maréchal of Villeroy after prestige-losing military debacles, such as his defeat and capture in northern Italy in 1702,186 and again after a defeat in Flanders in 1707.187 In both instances Armagnac and the Chevalier de Lorraine used their reputations and personal connections to help the king maintain the prestige of one of his favourites, despite a continuing string of military failures.188

All in the family

  • 189 Wellman 2013, chapters on Diane and Gabrielle.
  • 190 Craveri 2007, pp. 17, 207–12.

45Before concluding, we must return to the question of how “ordinary” the relationship between Monsieur and the Chevalier de Lorraine can be considered. The court of Versailles was certainly far from ordinary in the sense of most peoples’ everyday lives. But there were certainly norms that were known and respected by the court and its members. The role of the “maîtresse en titre” for example, had become fairly standardized, whereby in return for giving pleasure and comfort to a king, a woman was entitled, almost expected, to distribute royal favours and largesse to her family, friends and clients. Diane de Poitiers and Gabrielle d’Estrées had certainly done as much for their families, their siblings, cousins and offspring.189 Those who overstepped the bounds of decency, however, found themselves punished, for example, Catherine-Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil, whose bold grab for power at the court of Henri IV nearly cost her and members of her family their lives, and Madame de Montespan, whose excessive feathering of her family’s nest contributed to her downfall following the Affair of the Poisons in 1682.190 So how does the Chevalier de Lorraine compare with regard to his attentions to his family?

  • 191 BN, Duchesne 17, fol. 509, notice of legitimization, March 1674.
  • 192 Dangeau 1854–60, III, p. 170. There is more to this story than is fully known: Dangeau states that (...)
  • 193 AN, MC, CXVI, no. 83, contract of 8 June 1688. Attached to this contract is a quittance for sums pa (...)

46Although the Chevalier de Lorraine did not have any legitimate children, there is evidence of his efforts to secure benefits for his illegitimate offspring. Royal favour secured legitimization for at least one son (called either Alexis or Alexandre), thus allowing him to inherit property, the small seigneurie of Beauvernois in Burgundy, from which he took his name, “Chevalier de Beauvernois”.191 The Chevalier de Lorraine also obtained a military post for his son.192 Nevertheless Lorraine’s first duty was not to this son, but to the legitimate members of his dynasty. He contributed to their success through financial contributions in his nieces’ marriage contracts – the marriage contract of Mademoiselle d’Armagnac and the Duke of Valentinois specifies that fully one third of the 300,000 livres promised for her dowry would be provided by the Chevalier de Lorraine, in cash and in precious stones193 – and, as we have seen, through gifts to his nephews of priories dependent on his benefices. At the wider level, the Chevalier de Lorraine was thus playing an important part in the success of his entire family.

  • 194 For the Lorraine-Guise “team effort”, see Spangler 2009, pp. 116–17.

47The main advantage wielded by a multi-lineal family such as the Lorraine-Guise, in which all members (not just the head) enjoyed princely rank and privileges, was that multiple individuals could be stationed throughout the loci of power. In addition to Armagnac and the Chevalier de Lorraine as favourites of the king and Monsieur, Lorraine women surrounded Queen Marie-Thérèse as dames du palais (including the Countess of Armagnac and Mademoiselle d’Elbeuf). Later in the reign the Princess of Lillebonne and her daughters were intimates of the court of the Dauphin at Meudon, while the Princess of Harcourt and the Duchess of Elbeuf were powerful favourites at the unofficial “court” of Madame de Maintenon. Younger members of the Lorraine clan established ties to the next generation of the royal family, notably the Duke of Burgundy and the Duke of Chartres. We have seen that there were four Lorraines promoted to the Order of the Saint-Esprit in 1688; at the same time there were about ten princes serving in the French armies, and a few serving abroad, in the service of Venice or the Empire. All of Europe was still revelling in the successes of Duke Charles V of Lorraine against the Turks at Vienna in 1683, and on the plains of Hungary. Several other family members lived in the provinces, as regional governors or local grands seigneurs.194 The promotion of the Chevalier de Lorraine to the Order of the Saint-Esprit, and his visible position of prominence at Versailles thus contributed to the overall public display of power so crucial to the success of an aristocratic family in the early modern period.

Conclusion

  • 195 The head of the senior branch, Marie de Lorraine, Mademoiselle de Guise, died in 1688. On her death (...)
  • 196 On the re-establishment of links between the senior and cadet branches of the House of Lorraine fol (...)

48By the 1690s, the Chevalier de Lorraine, alongside his brother the Count of Armagnac, had become the indisputable heads of the House of Lorraine in France.195 They played a critical role in the re-establishment of the independence of the Duchy of Lorraine in 1698, important for the public reputation of their family overall and the maintenance of their rank as princes, at the French court as well as on the wider European stage. More specifically, the connections between the Chevalier de Lorraine and the household of Monsieur facilitated the marriage of Monsieur’s daughter to the Duke of Lorraine that same year, and an end to nearly a century of conflict between the houses of Bourbon and Lorraine.196

49By looking at the relationship between Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and Philippe, Chevalier de Lorraine, we can see clearly the latter’s success as a princely favourite, as a patron and broker, and as contributor to his family’s overall success at court and in society. The Chevalier de Lorraine was only one member of a large clan of foreign princes, but he (along with his brother, Armagnac) was undoubtedly the most successful, and looked to, even by his senior cousins, as head of the cadet branches of the House of Lorraine in France, and indeed, as one of the primary links to the head of their clan, the Duke of Lorraine himself. Through status given by birth, the Chevalier had easy access to the court and its royal masters. Using his looks, charm and skill, however, he established himself as a trustworthy favourite, obtained lucrative posts, and operated a successful network of patronage and brokerage for over four decades. He facilitated unofficial links between the king and his courtiers, the court and the government, and between France and Lorraine. Arriving at court in the precarious position of inherited debt and an uncertain career, he left behind a position of unchallenged dominance and fiscal health that maintained his family – and indeed, the princes étrangers as a group – at the top of the French court hierarchy for the remainder of the Ancien Régime.

50Whether or not we can detect in this relationship resonances of a modern homosexual identity, there is nevertheless a constancy of four decades that is indubitable and noteworthy. And although certainly talked about spuriously by the gossips of Europe, we have seen that the relationship caused more sparks over the appropriateness of a single favourite as opposed to many, questions of disparity in rank, and the excessive dispersal of royal funds, and not specifically over a sexual relationship between two men. As a relationship built on trust, love, sex, companionship and patronage power, and in its fairly public nature, both at court and in the country, Monsieur’s “singular favourite” can deservedly be placed among the great royal favourites of early modern France, a true “maître en titre”.

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Notes

1 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, VIII, p. 344; Dangeau 1854-60, VIII, p. 128; Sourches 1882, VII, p. 79.

2 Barker 1989, p. 225.

3 Listing Monsieur’s liaisons with numerous high-ranking members of the court, Didier Godard counts one duke, four marquises, two counts and a chevalier: Godard 2002, p. 149.

4 Erlanger 1970, p. 145.

5 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 165.

6 Pevitt 1997, p. 13.

7 Wolf 1968, p. 606: In full, “For all the king’s efforts to provide his brother Philippe with grandeur and importance, this unfortunate man was at best never more than a grotesque decoration of the court, at worst a burden, perhaps even a disgrace, to his brother, the king”.

8 Barker 1989, pp. 100–01.

9 Puff 2006, pp. 85–86.

10 Oresko 1989, pp. 105–28.

11 Tulchin 2007.

12 Puff 2012, pp. 20, 26; Bray 2003.

13 Kühner 2011; Legault 2008.

14 La Fare 1884, pp. 86–87. Most importantly, La Fare concludes that it was this incident that caused the final rupture between Monsieur and Madame and served as a pretext for the king’s order for the arrest of the Chevalier de Lorraine, concerning as it did state secrets between himself and Charles II and a secret alliance against the Dutch.

15 Saint-Simon, Addition in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.

16 Letter of 30 June 1701, Orléans 1891, II, p. 4.

17 Oresko 1989 cites Monsieur’s inventaire après décès, but this seems to be missing. Archives Nationales [AN], Minutier Central, étude XCII, no. 314. In fact, he also cites an inventory for the Chevalier de Lorraine in étude XCI, no. 554, which – if it still existed – would have been a great help for this article.

18 Quoted in Godard 2002, pp. 144–45.

19 This is the primary subject of this author’s DPhil thesis, and subsequent monograph: Spangler 2009.

20 There are not very many thorough scholarly examinations of royal mistresses specifically, though see Melchior-Bonnet and de Tocqueville 1999; Couton 1995; Craveri 2007; Wellman 2013; and a new article by Mark Bryant (Bryant 2017) as well as his forthcoming monograph on Madame de Maintenon.

21 Both of these are active topics in 2017, with a conference set for same-sex relationships in royal courts in Hanover in October, and another based on those princes who live “in the shadow of the throne” in Madrid in September.

22 See for example, a study of Gaston d’Orléans (brother of Louis XIII), by Gatulle 2012. There has been no rigorous book-length study of Philippe d’Orléans since Barker 1989, but a study of both Gaston and Philippe are at the centre of my own current monograph project.

23 Briggs 1990.

24 When Monsieur first took up with the Chevalier, his almoner and confidant Daniel de Cosnac was worried that Monsieur was being misled, as the Chevalier was known to have given his “true” heart to Madame de Monaco (sister of the Count of Guiche, Monsieur’s former partner). Cosnac 1852, II, p. 63.

25 Two sons, born between 1668 and 1672, one by Mademoiselle de Fiennes (Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 466); and one by Mademoiselle de Grancey (Primi Visconti 1988, p. 32). One of these was legitimated by royal order in March 1674. Bibliothèque Nationale [BN], Duchesne 17, fol. 509.

26 Sévigné 1972, I., p. 466, 30 March 1672. This is not unusual, as royal or princely bastards were usually brought up in the same household as legitimate children. See Grimmer 1983, pp. 148–49, or more specifically, the details of the mixed household of the offspring of Henri IV in Héroard 1868.

27 Godard 2002, p. 142.

28 Choisy 1966, p. 219; Erlanger 1953, pp. 38–40, 43-49. The issue is discussed more objectively in Barker 1989, pp. 56–57. For an overview of the role of “Monsieur”, see Spangler 2014.

29 For example, Crawford 2003; Potter 1995; Poirier 1996; and Le Roux 2001.

30 The two best sources for modern scholarly analysis of Monsieur remain Barker 1989 and Van der Cruysse 1988. The Chevalier de Lorraine and the issues of sexuality are examined by Barker in several sections (following pp. 59, 100 and 200), while Van der Cruysse focuses in more depth in his chapter “Entre Saint-Cloud et Sodome : Monsieur, prince gay” (and notably on the Chevalier de Lorraine following p. 165).

31 Godard 2002. Ferguson 2008 bases its short discussion of Monsieur’s same-sex patronage network (pp. 31–32) on Godard.

32 Lever 1985. A useful document collection is Merrick and Ragan 2001, but it too focuses mostly on deviance, through accounts of police records, sermons and gossip. Such is the published material that has survived.

33 Cosnac 1852, II, pp. 61–63; I, pp. 360–61.

34 Cosnac 1852, I, pp. 358–59: “Dans ce temps, on reconnut un si grand attachement dans l’esprit de Monsieur pour le chevalier de Lorraine, qu’on le regarda comme un favori déclaré. Monsieur ne parloit jamais à Madame ni à toute sa cour, que de l’inclination qu’il avoit pour lui ... qu’il s’étoit engagé, par serment, de ne lui rien cacher. Il ne se passoit point de jour qu’il ne lui écrivît.”

35 See for example, Potter 2007.

36 Erlanger 1970, p. 148.

37 Saint-Simon, Additions inédites, in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.

38 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 359.

39 Cosnac 1852, II, pp. 60–63.

40 Dangeau 1854–60 cites visits by royal parties to Frémont, including the king, Monseigneur, or Monsieur, seventeen times between 1687 and 1700: II, pp. 50, 155, 383, 459; III, pp. 4, 352, 396, 434; IV, pp. 61, 62, 153, 173; V, p. 281; VI, pp. 190, 432; VII, pp. 142, 379.

41 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 211 (this is the “Vie de Daniel de Cosnac”, attributed either to the Abbé de Choisy or to the Maréchal of Tessé).

42 Madame, cited in Erlanger 1953, p. 188; Duchêne 1995, p. 352. The “Vie de Daniel de Cosnac” says “Madame parla avec horreur de ce désordre” (the Chevalier as master of the household): Cosnac 1852, II, p. 211.

43 Saint-Simon Addition in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.

44 Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 469, letter of 1 April 1672.

45 Orléans 1857, vol. I, letter of 3 July 1717.

46 La Fare 1884, pp. 86–87.

47 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 165.

48 As allegorical representations go, although Zeus and Poseidon might seem appropriate for Louis XIV and Philippe d’Orléans, the well-known painting of them by Jean Nocret (c. 1670) portrays them as Apollo (naturally for the Sun King) and Phosphorus, the morning star who announces the arrival of the sun. See Sabatier 2000.

49 Spangler 2009; for an overview of the more famous sixteenth-century Guise, see Carroll 2009.

50 I have uncovered no specific evidence of their childhood acquaintance, but it is a plausible assumption, given the role their parents, the Count and Countesss of Harcourt, played in the early years of the Regency, particularly during the Fronde. Both were tied to the political network of Cardinal Richelieu (the countess was his niece, the count a favoured general), and both remained prominent as favourites of the Regent.

51 Poull 1991.

52 Tallement des Réaux 1834–35, III, p. 440.

53 For a recent overview of princely status, see Spangler 2016.

54 Harcourt resigned the office in his son’s favour as early as October 1651, AN, T 15031; O1 9, fol. 382. Armagnac took another oath of survivance in April 1658: Anselme 1726–33, vol. VIII, p. 509.

55 This was contrary to Louis XIII’s edict (as recent as 1639) forbidding alienation of titles of this magnitude from the royal domain. AD, Haute-Garonne, B 674, donation of 20 November 1645. The county (and the right to bear its name), with its sizeable revenues, had been given by the Regent Anne of Austria to mark his father’s special favour as a capable and loyal general of Louis XIII, and as part of a complex fiscal arrangement between his wife and the heirs of Cardinal Richelieu. AN, T*15591, X, no. 6.

56 This process is meticulously detailed in one of the best sources of documentary evidence for the family, a register of documents in Armagnac’s library compiled in 1705: AN, T *15591.

57 Dangeau and Saint-Simon both paint an endearing image from 1713 of two old men, suffering from gout, meeting privately and without ceremony in the king’s cabinet. Putting etiquette aside, the king insisted Armagnac sit down, listened to his request for the continuance of his pension to an unmarried daughter, and granted his request “at that very moment”. Dangeau 1854–60, XIV, p. 318; Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXIII, pp. 262–63.

58 The title “Chevalier de Lorraine” was traditionally used by the senior member of the house who was a member of the Order of Malta. Philippe’s predecessor was either Roger, younger brother of the Duke of Guise, who died in 1653, or Henri, illegitimate son of the Cardinal of Guise, who died in 1668.

59 Saint-Simon denies he was ever a member, Additions, in Dangeau 1854–60, I, p. 336; and Dangeau himself said it was a mistake to believe he had taken his vows, II, p. 222.

60 Anselme 1726–33, VIII, p. 500. He is listed as “Melitensis eques” in Gallia Christiana 1715–1865, VIII, p. 1569; IX, p. 461. His letters patent as Abbot of Saint-Jean des Vignes specifically refer to him as a knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (or Malta): AN, O1 22, fols 100–02, May 1678.

61 BN, Pièces Originales 1753, no. 627, 1 August 1650, quittance for Philippe of Lorraine, for 3,990 livres received by the Order for his passage, and dispense for his age. No. 625 is the same thing from the same day for Raymond-Bérenguer (age three), though it was not he, but his brother Alphonse-Louis (age five) who joined the Order. From 1631 young nobles (paying a hefty fee) could be admitted as “Knights of Minority” at age twelve, or even younger. Sire 1994, p. 83.

62 Sire 1994, p. 83.

63 Lagny-le-Sec and Huy (Villers-le-Temple). Anselme 1726–33, VIII, p. 500; Poull 1991, p. 446; Dangeau 1854–60, II, p. 409. These were more than merely honorary, and added about 35,000 livres to his annual income. Mannier 1872, I, p. 266; II, p. 755.

64 Letter of Msr Bargellini at the Sacred College (Vatican Library, Francia, 141, fol. 61a, 7 Feb 1670), cited in Bassenne 1930, pp. 115–16. This is corroborated by the Ambassador from Savoy in his letters to the court in Turin. Saint-Maurice 1910, I, pp. 383–99, 402.

65 Flavigny 1998, p. 112; Sire 1994, p. 83.

66 Anselme 1726–33 provides several examples in volumes IV–V (ducs-et-pairs): César-Auguste, fourth son of the Duke of Choiseul was a knight of Malta and Abbot of Rhedon. By 1672 all of his elder brothers were killed in battle, so he resigned from Malta, married in 1681, and succeeded his nephew as Duke of Choiseul in 1684. Gabriel de Pardaillan de Gondrin, third son of the Duke of Antin, was in Malta from a very young age. His elder brothers died in 1707 and 1712, leaving three boys under the age of five. Gabriel quit the Order and married in 1716 (but produced no children).

67 Motley 1990, pp. 123–30.

68 His highest commission was as mestre de camp of a regiment of infantry from October 1651 (when he was ten!), AN, T*15591, cote XVIII, no. 2.

69 Anselme 1726–33, VIII, p. 500; Poull 1991, p. 445.

70 Pinard 1760–66, VI, p. 414. War with Spain ended in May 1668, and it is unclear whether or not the Chevalier de Lorraine actually exercised this command.

71 Barker 1989, pp. 149–51.

72 Historians have described this as one of the most petty acts of jealousy of Louis XIV, who, having never himself won a major victory personally, removed Monsieur from genuine command for the rest of his life. In the words of Lavisse 1906 (VII, part 2, p. 338): “Louis XIV took it ill if someone stole something of his glory”; Wolf 1968, p. 260, is less certain, and suggests that the King gave his brother his due, but the argument has surfaced again more recently in Bluche 1990, pp. 258, 261, 359.

73 Dangeau 1854–60, V, pp. 48–50; Saint-Simon 1879–1928, II, p. 159.

74 Enghien to the Queen of Poland, 12 August 1666: Condé et Enghien 1920, p. 293.

75 Mémoires du comte Betlem-Niklos (Amsterdam, 1736), pp. 289–90, quoted in Petiot 2000, p. 40.

76 In contrast, his kin by marriage, the Marquis de Villeroy tried more than once to serve in a foreign army, first in the Dutch navy with the Chevalier, and later in the army of the Elector of Cologne, in June 1672, but in both instances he was recalled by the king: Sévigné 1972–78, I, pp. 530, 540.

77 Cosnac 1852, I, pp. 403–05.

78 Spanheim 1973, p. 52.

79 See Elliott and Brockliss 1999; Le Roux 2001.

80 Dewald 1993, chapter 4.

81 Barker 1989, p. 2. For Louis XIII and sexuality, see Godard 2002, pp. 109–23, which draws on Chevallier 1979.

82 Oresko 1989, p. 106.

83 Madame wrote to her aunt Sophie of Hanover: “[Monsieur] never has anything else in the world in his mind except his young boys [seine junge Kerls], with whom he passes entire nights eating and drinking. … He mistrusts me and fears that I will report this to the king who could chase away the mignons [die Buben]”; and “I should admit that I would have been much sadder than I am, if the late Monsieur … had not always given much more love to undignified boys than to me.” Letters of 7 March 1696 and 18 August 1701, quoted in Van der Cruysse 1988, pp. 178, 420.

84 Seifert 2001, p. 37.

85 Merrick 1994.

86 A poem published by Tallemant des Réaux: “De Sault cherche à plaire / Et ne le peut faire / Ragny ne dit rien qu’en riant / Pour M. le Grand / Il est tout mystère / Tant il est gallant / Il a comme La Vallière / L’esprit penitrant.” Quoted in Tallemant des Réaux 1994, p. 434. De Sault, Ragny and La Vallière (brother of the mistress) were among those often accused of the “vice italien” – see the account in Primi Visconti 1988 of the attendance of these three at Monsieur’s gossip sessions about young boys (p. 77), and La Vallière’s flagrant, almost brutal, pass at the author himself (p. 81).

87 Van der Cruysse 1988, pp. 160–62; Primi Visconti 1988, p. 12.

88 Abbé de Choisy, cited in Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 159.

89 Puff 2006, p. 89, citing Bray 1994; and Bray 2003.

90 Sibalis 2006, p. 104.

91 Saint-Simon 1878–1928, VIII, pp. 342–44; and in Additions to Dangeau 1854–60, IV, p. 8; VII, p. 127; IX, p. 60; and XVI, p. 463. Saint-Simon himself might be considered to be treading on dangerous ground here, given the ambiguous nature of the relationship between his own father and Louis XIII. Moote 1989, p. 284–95.

92 See footnote 33.

93 Erlanger 1953, p. 68.

94 Condé et Enghien 1920, p. 110, letter of 12 December 1664.

95 Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 469, letter of 1 April 1672. She reports the following dialogue when the Chevalier was encountered by a weeping Fiennes (possibly pregnant?): “Mlle, qu’avez-vous ? pourquoi êtes-vous triste ? qu’y a-t-il d’extraordinaire à tout ce qui nous est arrivé ? Nous nous sommes aimés, nous ne nous aimons plus ; la fidélité n’est pas une vertu des gens de notre âge. Il vaut bien mieux que nous oublions le passé et que nous reprenions les tons et les manières ordinaires. Voilà un joli petit chien; qui vous l’a donné ?”

96 See for example, Saint-Simon 1879–1928, VIII, p. 371: “le Chevalier envoya à ses deux amis [Effiat and Morel] un poison sûr et prompt par un exprès que ne savoit peut-être pas lui-même ce qu’il portoit.”

97 La Fayette 1965.

98 Montpensier 1858, IV, pp. 156–158. Monsieur was her chief heir.

99 Letter to the Electress of Hanover, 10 Oct 1693: Orléans 1891, I, p. 186.

100 Letter to the Electress Sophia, 1683: Orléans 1891, I, p. 59.

101 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 322.

102 “Etat du Palais-Royal, en 1701, à la mort de Monsieur, frère de Louis XIV”, Appendix D in Vatout 1837-48, vol. II (Palais-Royal), p. 383 (chambre and antichambre) and p. 389 (chambre par bas).

103 Montpensier 1858, IV, p. 66.

104 Newton 2000, p. 225.

105 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, p. 60; VIII, pp. 342–44; X, pp. 377–80; Sourches 1882, I, p. 11; Spanheim 1973, p. 73. Choisy calls him “le maître ou la maîtresse de maison … disposant des grâces, et plus absolu chez Monsieur qu’il n’est permi de l’être” in “Vie de Daniel de Cosnac”, in Cosnac 1852, II, p. 211.

106 Montpensier 1858, IV, pp. 494–96.

107 Barker 1989 utilizes what little financial paperwork remains (mostly AN, 300 AP I, carton 115), chapter 8, “Service to Mammon”.

108 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, p. 62; XXII, pp. 162, 249; Sourches 1882, I, pp. 132, 154.

109 Dangeau 1854–60, III, p. 406.

110 État de la France (1669), I, pp. 355–71, “Maison de Monsieur”.

111 Barker 1989, p. 82.

112 Oresko 1989, p. 115.

113 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 61.

114 Rather than a severe punishment, the Chevalier de Lorraine apparently had a grand time in Rome, conducting an affair with Louis XIV’s former mistress Marie Mancini, according to evidence presented in a recent work by Goldsmith 2012, pp. 89–91. By Marie’s own account, the Chevalier remained in Rome for his two years of exile mostly because of the exciting society that was continually in attendance at the Palazzo Colonna, “the throng of elegant society”.

115 Poull 1990, p. 895; Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 165.

116 Letter of March 1670 to Madame de Saint-Chaumont, quoted in Bevan 1979, p. 157.

117 Ormesson 1860-61, II, p. 581; Saint-Maurice 1910, I, p. 383; Montpensier 1858, IV, p. 87.

118 Gallia Christiana 1715–1865, VIII, pp. 1213, 1257, 1538; IX, p. 456. The last two were previously held by the Chevalier’s younger brother, Raimond-Bérenguer, who resigned them in his favour. Saint-Jean des Vignes may have already been in Philippe’s possession before 1678, since Madame de Sévigné refers to him going there for two weeks in August 1675 during a spat he had with Monsieur (Sévigné 1972–78, II, pp. 51, 58, 76).

119 AN, O1, no. 22, fols 100–02, provisions for Saint-Jean des Vignes.

120 His title as abbot in commendam referred to the “temporary curatorship” of his abbeys, awarded to secular individuals, though knights of Malta were technically clerics entitled to benefices sine cura animarum (without the care of souls). Bergin 1996, pp. 144 and 292.

121 Gallia Christiana 1715–1865, VIII, pp. 1257, 1567; IX, p. 461.

122 Cabanes and Lagrange 1982; Chenesseau 1931, p. 119.

123 La Trinité de Tiron (10,000 livres), Saint-Jean-des-Vignes de Soissons (25,000 livres), Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (25,000 livres), and Saint-Père de Chartres (10,000 livres). A. Boislisle, in Saint-Simon 1879–1928, VIII, p. 342 (with no sources given).

124 Bergin 1996, p. 528, gives 10,000 livres for Saint-Père in 1655; Aristide 1992, p. 138, gives about 16,000 for Saint-Benoît in the early seventeenth century; Chenesseau 1931, pp. 119–21, gives 20,000 for the same later in the century.

125 Bergin 1996, p. 102.

126 AN, O1, no. 22, fols 100–02.

127 Chenesseau 1931, pp. 119–21.

128 In 1684 the monks of Saint-Benoît purchased expensive tapestries to hang in their stalls to keep themselves warm. Jacob 1988, p. 73.

129 From 1674 he was the primary heir of his mother’s succession (AN, 15591, cote XXVI, no. 8). He and his brother Armagnac regulated this succession in 1678, leaving the Chevalier properties in Beaune in Burgundy, and the bulk of their mother’s dowry (worth over 200,000 livres). AN, Minutier Central, étude CXVI, no. 42, transaction of 17 February 1678.

130 Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 98.

131 Dangeau 1854-60, I, p. 84; IX, p. 59; Primi Visconti 1988, p. 77.

132 Sévigné 1972-78, II, pp. 45–46, 51, 58, 76, 82, letters of August 1675.

133 Erlanger 1953, 121.

134 On the occasion of his nomination as governor of her son. Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 180.

135 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXII, pp. 392–93.

136 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, p. 60, VIII, p. 371.

137 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXVI, p. 371-2.

138 Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 115, letter of 26 August 1689.

139 Letter of 13 August 1716, Orléans 1909, p. 289.

140 Sévigné 1972–78, I, p. 439, letter of 12 February 1672.

141 Primi Visconti 1988, p. 78.

142 Kaiser 1996.

143 Primi Visconti 1988, p. 78.

144 Sévigné 1972–78, II, pp. 82, 26–28 August 1675, discussing the new favourite, Jacques Roque de Varengeville, secrétaire des commandements. But does she coin a new phrase or make an unintentional anachronism, funny to modern readers, in describing the reconciliation scene as the most wonderful “fagotage” (an unharmonious assembly, like the branches of a fagot)?

145 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXII, p. 249.

146 Sourches 1882, I, p. 118.

147 Dangeau 1854–60, II, p. 379.

148 Mémoires du curé de Versailles, François Hébert, 1686-1704, in Merrick and Raglan 2001, pp. 124–25.

149 Saint-Simon 1879-1928, VIII, p. 342.

150 There are several references to this role which the Chevalier de Lorraine played for the King: Dangeau 1854–60, VI, p. 381; IX, p. 60; Saint-Simon 1879–1928, II, 259; Orléans 1984, letters of 14 April 1688 and 14 April 1689.

151 Cosnac 1852, II, p. 64. The Chevalier de Lorraine said he would renounce any grâces he might get from the king, on one condition from Monsieur: “de le déclarer publiquement pour son favori” (and Cosnac suspects that he was put up to this by the Abbé d’Effiat or the poet Benserade, since the Chevalier was not capable of “une telle politique”).

152 Saint-Simon, Addition in Dangeau 1854–60, IX, p. 60.

153 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XXII, pp. 162–63.

154 Un Recueil Inédit de Portraits et Caractères, 1703, from the British Library, Ms. Add. 29507, A. de Boislisle, ed. (Paris, 1897), quoted in Wolf 1968, p. 605.

155 Dangeau 1854–60, II, p. 220.

156 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, pp. 60–61; Dangeau 1854–60, II, pp. 220, 240–42, 285; Sourches 1882, III, p. 112; Sévigné 1972–78, III, pp. 414–15; Spanheim 1973, p. 120; La Fayette 1990, pp. 751–52, 758.

157 Anselme 1726–33, IX, p. 214; Colleville and Saint-Christo 1924.

158 The new regulations of the Order in 1665 required knights to be 35; by the eighteenth century it was accepted that princes du sang received it at their first communion, and princes étrangers at 25 (Colleville and St-Christo 1924, p. xix), but this was not yet settled in the promotion of 1688.

159 AN, T*1993, revenues of the Duke of Elbeuf for 1654, confirms the value of 3,000 livres for this, which is comparable to only 2,000 livres he received as Governor of Picardy. This value is also cited in Roche 1967, p. 220.

160 He even changed his name, and was known at court after 1688 as “le Prince Philippe de Lorraine”, Anselme 1726–33, III, p. 500.

161 Quoted in Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 420: Philippe is not of this preference: / It is despite himself that he was married. / If he ever tried widowhood, / In order to fully live according to his tastes, / We would soon see him with a page / retired at Saint-Cloud.

162 La Fare 1884, p. 281.

163 Quoted in Van der Cruysse 1988, p. 213.

164 Notably the Chevalier’s cousin, Marie de Lorraine, Mademoiselle de Guise. See Ranum 2004.

165 David et Jonathas, Tragédie en musique (Paris, 1688), printed libretto (by François de Paule Bretonneau): http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k716307 [consulted 27 June 2017].

166 Ranum 2004, pp. 318–27; Fader 2013.

167 Kettering 1986, pp. 4–5, 175–76.

168 The king saw his brother alone each day in his study between Council and the Petit Couvert. Oresko 1989, p. 119.

169 BN, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises 2455, fol. 11, Factum pertaining to the rights of the abbot of Saint-Jean des Vignes to appoint curés within his jurisdiction.

170 For example, a large abbot’s palace at Saint-Benoît, grandly rebuilt by the Chevalier in the 1680s. Chenesseau 1931, p. 49.

171 Saint-Simon 18791928, XV, p. 16.

172 Dangeau 185460, V, p. 192.

173 Dangeau 1854–60, VI, p. 433. Camille had been tonsured, but never became a full ecclesiastic.

174 The best source on the role of the provincial governor as broker at court remains Harding 1978.

175 BN, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises, no. 2455, fol. 11.

176 BN, Thoisy 217, fol. 448.

177 BN, Factum 10080.

178 See Thomas 2004.

179 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, I, pp. 62–66.

180 Madame to the Electress Sophia, 14 April 1688, quoted in Pevitt 1997, p. 33.

181 Sourches 1882, I, p. 110.

182 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, II, pp. 203–04. This episode forms part of Louis’s ongoing policy of keeping the grandee families unbalanced in their pretensions, particularly to the status of prince étranger, such as the La Tour d’Auvergne.

183 Le Roy Ladurie 2001, p. 107 (citing Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XIV, p. 541).

184 Mettam 1988, p. 44.

185 Armagnac was a member of family councils involving the Créqui properties in the 1690s (Dangeau 1854–60, III, p. 442; V, p. 346), and on the extinction of this family line in 1704 (AN, MC, LXXXIX, no. 187, 19 July 1704). Several Le Telliers (the family of Louvois) signed the marriage contracts of Armagnac’s two daughters, the Duchess of Cadaval in 1675 (AN, T 491) and the Princess of Monaco in 1688 (MC, CXVI, no. 83). Armagnac attended the wedding of Marguerite Le Tellier and the Duke of Villeroy in April 1694. Rowlands 2002, p. 48.

186 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, X, pp. 84, 90, 378–79.

187 Saint-Simon 1879–1928, XIV, p. 311.

188 Rowlands 2002, p. 45.

189 Wellman 2013, chapters on Diane and Gabrielle.

190 Craveri 2007, pp. 17, 207–12.

191 BN, Duchesne 17, fol. 509, notice of legitimization, March 1674.

192 Dangeau 1854–60, III, p. 170. There is more to this story than is fully known: Dangeau states that Beauvernois defected from the army in 1690, and he is later found at the court of Hanover, where he had married into the circle of prominent Hanoverian courtly and ministerial families. Lampe 1963, I, p. 202, n. 481; II, pp. 55, 141, 355. Perhaps ironically, these Hanoverian nobles were closely connected to one of the second Madame’s favourites, Frau von Harling. One can only speculate on the relationship between the illegitimate child of Madame’s nemesis and the court of her favourite aunt, the Electress Sophia. Would Madame have patronized him to show favour to her rival, to please her husband, or perhaps to spite him?

193 AN, MC, CXVI, no. 83, contract of 8 June 1688. Attached to this contract is a quittance for sums paid by the Chevalier de Lorraine, including an estimate for diamonds and pearls, alone worth over 30,000 livres.

194 For the Lorraine-Guise “team effort”, see Spangler 2009, pp. 116–17.

195 The head of the senior branch, Marie de Lorraine, Mademoiselle de Guise, died in 1688. On her death and succession, see Spangler 2015.

196 On the re-establishment of links between the senior and cadet branches of the House of Lorraine following the restoration of Duke Léopold in 1698, see Spangler 2017.

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Jonathan Spangler, « The Chevalier de Lorraine as “Maître en Titre” », Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles [En ligne], Articles et études, mis en ligne le 18 décembre 2017, consulté le 23 juin 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/crcv/14427 ; DOI : 10.4000/crcv.14427

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Jonathan Spangler

Jonathan Spangler, DPhil & MSt (Oxford), BA (William & Mary), Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, Manchester Metropolitan University, and editor of The Court Historian, the journal of the Society for Court Studies, he is a specialist on the high aristocracy of France, with a particular focus on the courts of Versailles and Lorraine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His PhD (Oxford, 2003) was on the cadet branches of the House of Lorraine at the court of Louis XIV, which was published as The Society of Princes: The Lorraine-Guise and the Conservation of Power and Wealth in Seventeenth-Century France (Ashgate, 2009). He has also published articles and chapters on various aspects of the nobility, including most recently: “Le rappel des princes de sang par Léopold : une stratégie politique pour rehausser l’image ducale”, in Échanges, passages et transferts à la cour du duc Léopold (1698-1729), ed. Anne Motta (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2017).

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